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Movie Review: Piriyaadha Varam Vendum (2001) Back to Movie
Rate movie A movie review by Balaji Balasubramaniam
Fans Rating: 80%%80%% 80% (48 votes)
Movie Still After several hiccups, Piriyaadha Varam Vendum, director Kamal's remake of his Malayalam hit Niram, finally makes it to the screen. With Shalini getting married before the entire shooting was completed and Ajith placing a ban on her acting, the director struggled to complete the movie and this delayed the movie several times (the impact of this is seen the scene where Prashanth and Shalini talk after her marriage has been fixed. Prashanth has shot the scene alone with Shalini's scenes from the Malayalam film being used. Their subsequent hug, seen in silhoutte, also looks like it is from the Malayalam version.) But the delays have not affected the end product too much. It is a fairly well-told, engaging story of best friends becoming lovers, though one realises this much before the other.

Sanjay(Prashanth) and Nithi(Shalini) are best friends right from their childhood days. They are neighbors, have grown up together, attend the same college and spend every minute of their waking hours together. Both have their admirers in college with Sneha(Jomol) wooing Sanjay and Praveen(Krishna) revealing his love for Nithi. Nithi's weeklong trip to Bangalore, along with some prodding by his housemaid, makes Sanjay realise how much he misses Nithi and that he is in love with her. But respect for their friendship and her makes him hide his feelings. Meanwhile Nithi accepts Praveen's proposal and things quickly move towards their marriage.

The movie highlights two important relationships, friendship and love, and handles them with varying degrees of success. The friendship between Prashanth and Nithi is definitely overdone and is completely artificial. There is no subtlety nor are there any quiet, touching moments as they run around hyperactively and deliver their lines at breakneck speed. While we see them chatting away for hours and holding hands and hugging each other and in essence, being more physical than two friends normally are, we never get to realise the depth of their friendship. There are no specific incidents to showcase their friendship and so we see them as buddies rather than close friends.

Thankfully, things are toned down once Prashanth realises that his feelings for Shalini are more than platonic. His suppression of his feelings because of what Shalini may think is realistic. Shalini's acceptance of Krishna's love provides a nice twist and succeeds in keeping us guessing about the path of the movie though the final outcome is obvious. Prashanth's reactions to feeling left out are also brought out nicely(Shalini consoling him at the canteen after his basketball practice is a nice scene) though his using Jomol doesn't make his character look good. Going dancing while she is waiting for him with her father definitely doesn't make him look good either!

The movie really picks up as it proceeds towards the end. The scene where Prashanth spontaneously expresses his feelings after Shalini wishes he had fallen in love with her is very well done and both their predicaments after this scene are expressed well. The climax is handled well with the shot of Shalini sitting alone on top of the stairs and way the following shot is presented, being very effective.

Apart from Prashanth and Shalini, the supporting characters are developed well and make an impression. The ever-stumbling Jomol is likeable and her unspoken last stumble carries lot of meaning. Krishna too is likeable and doesn't do any of those cinematic acts that are designed solely to make us hate someone the heroine is not supposed to get together with. Manorama is a typical modern grandma whose grandson has lived in the US. Her asking for Equal in her coffee is a great line. On the other end are 'Kovai' Sarala, whose rantings are quite unfunny and Janakaraj, who is unnecessary and barely noticed.

If nothing else, the movie proves that Shalini is going to be sorely missed. She is the life of the movie and her naturalness in all scenes, be it comedy or sentiments, is amazing. She is as much at ease ragging Jomol as she is battering Prashanth for hiding his feelings. Prashanth has his moments during the scenes where he shows pain at being left out by Shalini and Krishna. Manivannan, 'Nizhalgal' Ravi and Ambika have little screen time and even less of an impact on the proceedings are the parents. Songs by S.A.Rajkumar are a disappointment.

Rate movie A movie review by Balaji Balasubramaniam