| 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
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.