Tamil Movie Reviews:

UNNAALE UNNAALE     

Cast: Vinay, Sadha, Tanisha, Raju Sundaram
Music: Harris Jayaraj
Direction: Jeeva
 

In both 12B and Ullam Ketkume, Jeeva banked on meaty stories. While the former had the fascinating theme of alternate timelines, the latter had multiple love stories involving likeable characters. But he takes a differen route and picks a simple love triangle for his third venture. It has some interesting characters but they are not capable of making the light story hold our interest for the entire running time of the film.

Karthik(Vinay), an architect, and Jhansi(Sadha) fall in love. But the two rarely see eye to eye as Jhansi, who is possessive and jealous, always regards Karthik, who is easygoing and friendly, with suspicion. Predictably, Jhansi breaks it off with him. Some time later, Karthik is assigned to a project in Australia and on the flight meets Deepika(Tanisha), a playful, cheerful girl. But once he lands in Sydney, he once again meets Jhansi, who works with Deepika. And makes it pretty clear that he still has feelings for her.

We've had quite a few youthful love stories but Jeeva makes this one interesting by pairing up a guy and a gal who are obviously not made for each other. So Vinay and Sadha spend most of the time fighting with each other rather than exchanging sweet nothings. This may not be fun for them but for us, it makes the movie different and interesting. On the flip side, the couple's contrasting natures also makes us question why Vinay is so besotted with Sadha. With Sadha constantly suspicious of him and going as far as setting him up to prove her point, it is never clear why Vinay keeps going after her. While we are probably supposed to feel sorry for him (like in the scene where Sadha dumps him), we end up siding with Sadha since she ends up looking smarter than him and understands that they probably won't get along!

Things usually get interesting with the addition of a third person to a love affair but not here. Things are interesting as Vinay and Sadha romance and fight with each other but after the action moves to Sydney and Tanisha joins the act, the movie begins to drag. Things get very repetitive with Vinay's attempts to impress Sadha, Sadha's I-still-hate-you act and Tanisha's over-the-top behavior. Characters' behaviors and actions actually get confusing and we're never sure if they are putting on an act or are really feeling that way.

Its not just the romance that peters out in Sydney. Almost everything takes a turn for the worse. Like for instance the comedy. Raju Sundaram and his friend managed to make us laugh in the first half. But the new characters, like the hotel chef, struggle to make us laugh. Scenes with just these characters stick out awkwardly and one particular sequence, inspite of sparing us the gory details visually, is very crass and crude.

After the proceedings go to the point of testing our patience, the short and sweet climax is a pleasant - and welcome - surprise. Its bittersweet nature actually adds to its appeal and closes the movie out on a nice note.

Jeeva clearly thinks of himself as Tamil cinema's answers to Dr.John Gray as he goes about spelling out the differences between men and women. Almost everyone in the film is a philosopher with atleast a couple of bright nuggets about how men and women are and how they should be dealt with. When it is new and mixed with humor(like Raju Sundaram's conversations with his girlfriend, though they are simply Tamil versions of very popular English jokes), they are easy to listen to and even enjoy. But as we are subjected to the same kind of conversations about men and women over and over again, we just wish everyone would just stop talking (with characters like the eternally suspicious Sadha, Raju Sundaram's girlfriend who punches him and the Australian cook's wife who lets her husband cook and then takes credit by putting on his apron, its clear where Jeeva's sympathies lie!)

Vinay is tall and handsome and so, a welcome addition to our new hero list. He isn't too inhibited in front of the camera either though he isn't taxed too much. Sadha is a pleasant surprise and this is probably the first movie that I have liked her in. She seems a little awkward initially but she uses her expressions and body language to good effect in the second half where she is required to be subtle. Tanisha makes no such impression though. Not particularly cute, she overacts in most of the scenes also.

The movie definitely looks great. It is bright and colorful and there are some wonderful images, especially in Sydney. Harris Jayaraj's tunes suit the youthful mood of the film and the picturization of most songs does justice to the tunes. Hello Miss Imsaiye... takes the top spot among the numbers. The visual techniques and the antics of Vinay make it a high-energy number that lifts our spirits. Vaigaasi Nilave... is probably the most melodious of the numbers but the picturization with the battle theme doesn't fit in too well.

Courtesy:  Balaji Balasubramaniam
 

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