(Recommended by SI reader shadowfax_arbit)
Slipped the Alai Payuthe DVD into our player.
Directed by Mani Ratnam, Alai Payuthe features B-grade Tamil film star Madhavan with Shalini (now Ajith’s wife) playing his heroine.
Madhavan is not a bad actor but we wonder if anyone gives a flying f**k for this Nai-kutty (puppy) faced fella.
After all, Kollywood is mostly a business dominated by big stars like Rajnikanth, Kamal Haasan and a bunch of podi pasanga (kids) like Vijay, Ajith, Surya et al.
Alai Payuthe starts off with a smiling Madhavan riding his motorbike and listening to music on his headphone.
As the titles flash on the screen, the song Endrendrum Punnagai is playing in the background.
Madhavan heads to the train station where we see him waiting for Dr.Shakti (presumably Shalini).
We’ll update this post after watching the movie.
By no stretch of imagination is Alai Payuthe a masterpiece that had us muttering Oohs and Aahs at any time.
But this Mani Ratnam film is one of the better movies to emerge from Cooumwood a.k.a. Kollywood.
As is normal to most Indian movies, this one too is about love.
Mercifully, the film goes beyond the superficial celebration of love and explores the tensions as love evolves into marriage and beyond.
If you want proof that the course of love never did run smooth, all ye have to do is to watch Alai Payuthe.
Madhavan and Shalini do an adequate job as the youngsters experiencing both the ecstasy of love and the torment of grief as family tensions intrude into their lives.
Say what you will, Shalini is a better actress than her spouse Ajith Kumar.
As far as beauty goes, we’d say Shalini is just a notch above average.
Never has a girl looked more alluring and seductive than when Shalini crunches into a red chilli in one of the songs. Alas, she’s not a good dancer. The woman lacks the easy grace that an actress like Amala used to bring to her steps.
Madhavan is a decent actor and if you ignore his pathetic performance during the last 20 minutes, there’s not much to whine about his acting here.
Besides the OK story and acceptable acting, the third leg that holds up this movie is music.
Boy, how well does A.R.Rahman hold up this film.
We’ll wager anything in our possession that it’d be hard for any sane mind to pick a single favorite song from the movie. For most of the songs from the movie keep echoing in the mind long after the screen goes dark.
Nearly a decade after the movie first saw the light of the day, Kaadhal Sadugudu, Snegithanae and Pachchai Nirame must most certainly still be thrilling millions of listeners.
Kudos to Mani Ratnam for not marring the songs with shoddy picturization.
If you ignore the crappy, dragging 20 or 25 minutes towards the end (the hospital scenes particularly), we’d say Alai Payuthe is a decent movie.
And that’s what makes Alai Payuthe so unlike a Tamil movie.