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Movie Review: Virumbukiren (2002) Back to Movie
Rate movie A movie review by Balaji Balasubramaniam
Fans Rating: 77%%77%% 77% (35 votes)
Movie Still Virumbukiren is one of those movies that one thought would never see the light of day. Inspite of being launched with much fanfare with a new director and a new heroine almost two years ago, the movie ran into one obstacle after the other and there was little hope that it would be released. Meanwhile, its director Susi Ganesan completed and released Five Star while its heroine Sneha, has gone on to become a leading heroine in the Tamil field. But Virumbukiren has finally managed to reach theaters and thankfully the delay has not affected its quality. The movie is definitely a notch above the current crop of releases.

Sivan(Prashanth), a firefighter, steadfastly refuses marriage since his only ambition is to bring up his two younger brothers. When a village is frequently hit by mysterious fires, the source of which is unknown, Prashanth, alongwith the rest of his firefighting unit, is stationed there permanently. Thavamani(Sneha), a resident in the village, has been a mother to her two younger sisters since the death of their mother. Sivan and Thavamani fall in love after realising the similarity in their situations. But the entire village, including Thavamani's caste conscious father(Nasser), is against their union.

Inspite of being primarily a romance, Virumbukiren never gives the impression of being lightweight or fluffy. While the romance itself is based on issues like family situations and not just the cuteness of the leads, the issues in the village, like the fires and the caste tensions, lend weight to the primary story. These have been blended well in the movie and help make the proceedings absorbing. Prashanth's firefighting profession has been used well and actually serves a purpose, right upto the climax, rather than being just another gimmick.

The movie is populated by strong, memorable characters who behave in realistic practical ways. They seem to respond to the situation instead of being led by an illogical storyline. Sneha's Thavamani is always believable, whether standing up to her father or being ashamed of her letter being read in public. Prashanth too is ready to pooh-pooh the very existence of his love when it is on the brink of it being revealed to his mother. So we are able to view the couple as living, breathing characters and identify with them. Nasser's caste-conscious father too manages to rise above the usual, stereotyped portrayal of such characters. Even Sneha's sisters catch our eye and the question the little one asks after Sneha's letter was read was surprisingly touching.

The movie is dragged down by its songs and song sequences. A thoroughly uninspired Deva, who can occassionally come up with good tunes for deserving movies, lets down the director with a very mediocre soundtrack. And the picturisation doesn't rise above the quality of the songs either. From the first Alphonso group dance to the multitude of group dances towards the end, the song sequences induce groans. But the ubiquitous presence of water in almost all the sequences is a nice touch by the director considering the fire embracing the rest of the movie.

I also had a very big problem with the climax. Sure it does something different other than the usual hero-fights-villain scenario and makes effective use of Prashanth's profession. But the fact that Sneha gets away with her act really irked me. It has huge consequences, as shown effectively, and Prashanth's initial reaction seems sensible. But then the director glosses over it and even rubs it in with the last shot.

Prashanth notches up another good performance after Thamizh(though this movie was made much earlier). Sneha reveals all her acting skills right in her first movie and her slimness is the only sign that this movie was made before. Nasser is brilliant as the stern father. Eeswari Rao makes a mark as Sneha's loquacious friend but Livingston is wasted in a needless cameo.

Rate movie A movie review by Balaji Balasubramaniam