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Movie Review: Kandane Seethayai (2000) Back to Movie
Rate movie A movie review by Balaji Balasubramaniam
Fans Rating: 73%%73%% 73% (16 votes)
Movie Still Following Aandavan and Relax, Kanden Seethaiyai is another import from a different language that hopes to make some money based on the newfound popularity of one of its stars. This time its Vikram, who has not had a single release since Sethu brought him back into the public eye, giving him another shot at a successful, cinematic career. His role is nothing to talk about in this woman-oriented film that is obviously made for Soundarya. It boasts of a rather unique theme but cinematic trimmings make the proceedings quite prosaic.

Ever since her parents died, Savithri(Soundarya) has stayed with her aunt and uncle, doing odd jobs for the others living in the same apartment complex. Surendran(Vikram), a software engineer living in one of the apartments is in the process of developing a software package and already carries dreams of living in the US. By a quick turn of events, Surendran weds Savithri. His demonstration of his software is sabotaged by a vengeful peon and distressed by it, he gets into an accident. The operation requires a few lakhs and the doctor, witnessing Savithri's helplessness, gives her an idea. A rich, childless man has been looking for a woman who will act as a surrogate mother and carry his baby through artificial insemination. If Savithri agrees to be the surrogate mother, he will pay for the operation. With no other avenues, Savithri agrees and Surendran is saved. But her decision affects their married life in several ways.

While the theme of a woman becoming a surrogate mother through artificial insemination is unique to Tamil(and probably Telugu too), the topic was dealt with in a much more mature and better way in Malayalam almost a decade back. The movie, a Mohanlal starrer Dasaratham, dealt with the problem from the man's point of view with Mohanlal playing a bachelor who wants a child and Rekha as the surrogate mother who carries his child. While the problems Rekha and her husband faced were present there too, the main conflict was between Mohanlal and Rekha over ownership of the child. Here the movie focusses on the problems between Vikram and Soundarya (the donor is never even seen) and that leads to an overdose of melodrama and sentiments.

With the story taking off only after the doctor informs Soundarya of her options, the first hour or so of the movie is nothing more than a filler. There is no romance between Vikram and Soundarya to spice up the proceedings and these portions make us feel like the director really did not have his heart in the picture at this point and was filming the scenes to pad the running time and was just impatient to get to his real story. To make matters worse, the opening scene in the courtroom makes it obvious where the story is headed and so there is no suspense about what is going to happen either.

Once Vikram gets back from his operation, the director turns on the sentiments in full flow. Cinematic sequences(like Vikram and Soundarya running into his uncle at the hospital), marked by lame and artificial dialogs, are set up just to drive home the point about the neighbors' attitudes towards them. These scenes lack conviction and after a point, seem unnecessarily repetitive. The ending also makes no sense. I could not understand how Soundarya could make her decision without involving the father of the baby.

Vivek's separate comedy track has been inserted for this tamil version and considering his current popularity, he should do the trick of pulling in the crowds even if Vikram fails. And those crowds will not go home disappointed. This time he turns his attention to television with very funny spoofs of popular TV programs like Koun Banega Crorepati, Arattai Arangam and Naiyaandi Darbar. Familiarity with these programs is essential to enjoying Vivek's antics as he asks silly questions with a white beard or conducts a debate like Visu(including a superbly delivered "Chollu Kannaa"). But the dialogs are rarely as funny as the concept and run out of steam after a short while.

Vikram has some nice moments as the tortured husband thankful to his wife for saving his life but unable to withstand the taunts of his neighbors. Soundarya overacts sometimes as the innocent wife but is good overall. Ofcourse, the effect of her performance is diluted somewhat by the dubbing. The songs are distinctly un-Telugu-like with no fast beats or dances.

Rate movie A movie review by Balaji Balasubramaniam