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Movie Review: Arputham (2002) Back to Movie
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Fans Rating: 73%%73%% 73% (21 votes)
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Ashok (Ragavendra Lawrence) is an irresponsible youth who squanders all of his father's (V. Natarajan doing his best work since "Alai Paayuthey") money and doesn't care about his future. He dances away, drinks, smokes, and "enjoys" life to the fullest, meaning that he doesn't do a thing worth mentioning.

Ashok meets and falls in love with a girl named Priya (Anu Prabhakar). He also occasionally fights with a responsible young man named Aravind (Kunal). Unbeknownst to Ashok, Aravind and Priya are already in love.

Ashok tells Priya his love, but surprise surprise! she flat-out turns him down, calling him an irresponsible youth who she wouldn't in a million years fall in love with because he doesn't have an ambitious or diligent bone in his body.

Ashok tells her he'll commit suicide if he doesn't get her, though. But if she'll agree to his love, he'll turn over a new lead and become ambitious and make a boatload of money in one song, all for her.

Fearing for Ashok's life -- despite the fact that she is in love with Aravind -- she promises Ashok she'll wait for him.

Predictably, Ashok makes a boatload of money in one song. He and Aravind also become friends.

Who gets the girl, the reformed Ashok or the always-responsible Aravind?


God help me -- I know other reviewers are saying they liked the second half of this movie but not the first -- I really really enjoyed the first half of this movie. Yeah, Ashok is seen doing some horrifying things, screwing around with his life; yeah, Lawrence isn't your conventional hero (but this isn't your conventional role, either), but things that happen in the first half of this movie are just so sensible and different from the usual pathetic character actions and motivations we get in Tamil cinema.

First of all, let me congratulate V. Natarajan. He fully captured my sympathy as a trusting father who slowly begins to see his son for what he is -- an ungrateful leech. The fact that Ashok is an irresponsible jobless youth isn't seen lightly; Ashok gets his come-uppance. It's not like a thousand other movies where we see irresponsible youths getting the girl and happily riding off into the sunset.

And then -- my favorite scene in the movie -- when Ashok tells Priya his love. Recently, there's been a trend in Tamil movies (see "Aanandham") to treat girls who look at how much money a guy has in his pockets as a requirement of love as manipulative conniving, well, bitches. The fact that they're just being practical seems to escape everyone's attention. When Anu Prabhakar tells Ashok off, I was cheering -- finally, a girl with brains, rather than the auto-driver-loving heroines we usually see. Yes, that's what any girl would say when a guy like Ashok tells them his love -- "oonakku aenadaa thaguthi irukku?" And really, what "thaguthi" does he have?

But then the second half rolls around, and we're given a usual love- triangle story. The second half is where "Arputham" sinks into mediocrity and predictability. The hero making all that money in such a short time. The love story. I knew who was going to give up who and when ten minutes ahead of the director. The ending is solved also at the usual time and place: right before the wedding.

But for the first half, when all the characters act sensibly and logically, I really really liked this movie. I mean, heck, when Ashok's "thambi" complains about Ashok getting all the money and wasting it, I knew I was dealing with a director who wasn't fooling around with the fact that his hero is a perfect one-hundred-percent fraud (or at least is, until the intermission).

Livingston also has a "natpukkaaga" role which is a little amusing.

Oh yes, my congratulations to Kunal; he is the only actor I have seen who has appeared in so many movies, but still can't act at all.

As heroine, Malayali actress Anu Prabhakar has done a decent job. Lawrence, too, has done a decent job as hero, because he fits the character. The comedic antics of Dhamu and Vayapuri as Ashok's friends aren't funny this time around.

I am told that "Arputham" is a copy of an older Hindi film, title as-of-yet unknown. If anyone can confirm this, I'd be happy for the notice.

Actually, Shiva (whose last did "Love Today", the Vijay starrer) has done a pretty good job with music. I like the songs "Happy New Year" and "Nee Malaraa Malaraa." Though the picturization of the latter, with Kunal and Anu Prabhakar, is hilariously '80s.

Watch it on video or VCD.


Copyrigh 2002 Vijay Vanniarajan
Republication of this and other reviews by the same reviewer is expressly prohibited without the written consent of said reviewer.

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