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Movie Review: Dhavasi (2001) Back to Movie
Rate movie A movie review by Balaji Balasubramaniam
Fans Rating: 79%%79%% 79% (26 votes)
Movie Still After a string of movies(which featured increased lack of logic and dimishing box-office returns with each new entry) where he played first cops and then supercops, Vijayakanth turns to his second most popular role - that of the gold-hearted, virtuous village elder who goes through a crisis - in Thavasi. While the movie adds nothing new to the story of the disgraced father, his obedient son and the father's ultimate salvation(infact movies like Sooryavamsam handled it better), the screenplay manages to hold our interest with some interesting conflicts and situations.

Thavasi(Vijayakanth) is the village elder, whose son Bhoopathy(Vijayakanth) is doing agriculture research. Sankarapandi(Nasser) has earned Thavasi's ire by marrying and then abandoning his sister and his request to have his daughter Nandhini(Pratyuksha) married to Bhoopathy is also denied. Instead Thavasi decides to get Bhoopathy married to Priyadarshini(Soundarya). When the temple jewels are stolen, Thavasi charges Thangarasu(Sriman) with the theft and a heartbroken Thangarasu commits suicide. But it is later revealed that he was infact innocent. Egged on by Sankarapandi, Thangarasu's mother accuses Thavasi of being responsible for her son's death and to make amends for his false charge, Thavasi sends Bhoopathy to her house to replace Thangarasu.

Romance typically takes a backseat in Vijayakanth movies(the seat was even further back in his recent cop movies!) but it is the interaction between Vijayakanth and Soundarya that makes the initial portions enjoyable here. Soundarya's confusion after Vadivelu introduces himself as her suitor and Vijayakanth's helplessness after seeing the servant maid placed there by Soundarya are funny and cute. With this romance and the fights, the older Vijayakanth lurks only in the background during these portions.But Vijayakanth's request to the woman to stop the wedding since she doesn't look good could've been avoided. It is hurtful and doesn't help his image.

Vijayakanth spotting Sriman in the temple is the first sign of an impending crisis and we are not disappointed. Sriman's suicide makes things interesting since the older Vijayakanth has apparently committed a huge mistake and the punishment he metes out - of sending his son to 'replace' the dead son - is quite new. His mistake and the guilt he feels because of that are what make the story enjoyable from that point. But instead of keeping things interesting, the director chooses to wrap things up a little too cleanly by way of a lame and predictable climax that helps him come out looking spotless. But the climactic fight itself at the marriage hall is well choreographed and executed.

Vijayakanth has quite a few insults heaped on him by Ponnambalam as he is treated as a servant at Sriman's house. But since we know that Ponnambalam will get his comeuppance soon enough, these portions are enjoyable because of the anticipation. The other problems, like the dowry problems of the elder sister and the attempted rape of the younger sister by Ponnambalam, at the household that Vijayakanth helps solve are also passable even if simplistic and help keep the story moving. There are some sentiments between Vijayakanth and Jayasudha but these are not overdone.

Vijayakanth doesn't do much to differentiate between his two roles with respect to gestures or mannerisms and so its just the make-up that does the job. The special effects director too has little to do with the two roles rarely appearing in the same frame. Soundarya looks cute while Jayasudha, appearing in Tamil after a long time, is adequate as the dutiful wife and affectionate mother. Acting honors go to Nasser who manages to jazz up another routine villainous role with a nice smirk while taunting Vijayakanth. Nasser enjoys himself in the scene where he confronts Vijayakanth at the marriage hall. Vadivelu's individual encounters with the mad man are loud and unfunny but he is tolerable when paired with Vijayakanth. Pratyuksha is on hand for a single duet. Vidyasagar has had some hit soundtracks recently but Thavasi is definitely not going to be added to the list.

Rate movie A movie review by Balaji Balasubramaniam