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Movie Review: Dhaya (2002) Back to Movie
Rate movie A movie review by Balaji Balasubramaniam
Fans Rating: 76%%76%% 76% (16 votes)
Movie Still Saddled with unremarkable villainous and side roles, Prakashraj has chosen to produce his own movie in order to put his acting talent on display. Thankfully, he avoids the temptation of boosting his own image and instead, manages to select a character and story that allow him to actually perform. Dhaya is another in the long list of movies featuring a rowdy as hero but employs sufficient plot points to seem different from other run-of-the-mill stories.

Dhaya(Prakashraj) is a rowdy in Chennai, with enough political clout to make the police look the other way when he indulges in his nefarious activities. Thulasi(Meena) moves into his neighbourhood but all her attempts to reform him fail. Rudraiya(Raghuvaran), an ex-army man who has a score to settle with Sharada Amma(Lakshmi), hires Dhaya to discredit her. Sharada Amma runs an orphanage for abandoned children and is a good woman who turns a deaf ear to Thulasi's warnings about Dhaya's real character. Dhaya earns Sharada Amma's trust and gets himself hired as her car driver, while secretly planning her downfall.

Unlike other heroes who have portrayed rowdies, Prakashraj is not bound by the shackles of his 'image' and so is freed from the need to forcibly add some cliched good qualities to his character. This makes his character memorable and enables it to stand out from similar rowdies in other movies (Pudhiya Paadhai's Parthiban is the only other similar character to come to mind). His complete lack of human qualities is brought out well through his acts at the Brahmin household and the ashram kitchen. But be warned: the two scenes, while effective in defining his merciless character, are gross and tough to watch.

For quite some time, Dhaya follows the same trajectory as other similarly themed movies that have a rowdy as the hero. His goondaism and his meetings with Meena offer nothing new and we sigh with disappointment as a single slap from her makes him turn over a new leaf. But the director makes us sit up with subsequent developments and Raghuvaran's arrival gives a direction to the story. Dialogs are both funny and sharp and the meetings between Raghuvaran and Prakashraj contain several nice lines about their comparative villain status over the years. Raghuvaran's past with Lakshmi also adds some suspense to the proceedings.

The fact that the movie is not saddled with a 'bad' rowdy as the villain results in a climax that is different from the usual big clash between the good and the bad guy. Though it seems a little stretched, the climax atleast attempts to be different. The location itself adds a nice touch to the climax that sidesteps a few cliches and avoids the traditional feel-good ending.

Prakashraj brings out the evil in his character well without overacting. Meena looks simple barring a single duet and is quite good as usual. Raghuvaran employs his usual style of dialog delivery to add something to his character. Lakshmi has no trouble portraying the too-good-to-be-true godmother. Dhamu and Ramesh Khanna are responsible for a few laughs as Prakashraj's lackeys while Simran appears in a single, front-benchers-targeted song sequence not deserving her status as the leading heroine in Tamil cinema. Deva gets the chance for one melodious track but the others are typical Deva songs.

Rate movie A movie review by Balaji Balasubramaniam