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Movie Review: Amarkalam (1999) Back to Movie
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Fans Rating: 83%%83%% 83% (248 votes)
Movie Still STORYLINE:
Ajit Kumar plays Vasu, a drunken rowdy who lives in a cinema theater owned by Vinu Chakravarthy. He had a tortured childhood and spends his days drinking, fighting, and wasting away. During the beginning altercations, Vasu's friend, Dhamu, loses a reel of the movie Annamalai to Mohana (Shalini). Vasu and Mohana clash when he goes to retrieve the reel. Not only that, Mohana's family is made up entirely of cops, headed up by Bose (Nasser), Mohana's father.

At this point, an ex-Mafia "thaathaa" who spent many years in jail because of Nasser, Tulasi Dass (Raguvaran), comes to the theater. Because he doesn't like Bose, and therefore hires Vasu to kidnap Mohana and take her away somewhere. When he does, at one point, he screams out his agonies in the superb song "Satham Illatha." Mohana falls in love with him, hearing his pain.

When Tulasi Dass realizes Mohana loves Vasu, he hires Vasu further to pretend he loves her back. At first, with Vasu, it's just pretend, and then he, too, begins to love her. More surprises await the audience as the movie unfolds.

Charlie, Radhika, Ramesh Khanna, Ambika, and several other characters are also in the cast.

COMMENTS:
This is an okay storyline made very good because of its brilliant execution. Some people said Bharadwaj's music was "cacophony," but I think the music was excellent, and its pulse-pounding beat fit Vasu's character very well. Another excellent high point of the movie was Ajit Kumar's acting. Unlike Vijay, Ajit Kumar CAN act very well in any role, and he proves it here. The pain on his face will haunt you for quite a while. More good things were there wasn't much of a sentimental flashback to make us pain for Ajit's childhood-- instead, a quick but excellent piece on it suffices. I have also grown sick of Nasser playing an enraged angry stubborn father over the years; in this movie, in a good contrast, he plays a loving father instead. Raguvaran's acting is also brilliant. Shalini is, well, Shalini, a good character actress. The climax is also very well-developed. The plot is full of surprises.

The only complaint I have in the movie is that no matter how well Ajit sang, that shouldn't have been the sole reason for Shalini to fall in love with him, and unfortunately, her love is the basis for the whole rest of the story. A shaky foundation.

NOTE ON THE MUSIC:
I loved it. Lots of other people prefer the softer ear-soothing melodies, but I thought the music in this was par excellence. Kudos, Bharadwaj, ESPECIALLY in "Satham Illatha," a glorious anthem sung by the one and only S.P.B. Other beautifully written songs include "Megangal," "Mahaganapathy" (with some nice dance steps), "Unnodu Vaalaatha", and the score. Sorry to say, Shalini, you don't sing bad, but "Sontha Kuralil" sounded like it had been put together over a span of a couple of hours.

RECOMMENDATION:
Definitely watch it in the theater. This movie makes FAR MORE impact in the theater than on video, in the music, the acting, and everything. Even "Mahaganapthy" looks way better on the big-screen. If you see it on video, you might not like it as much as the movie deserves.

VIJAY VANNIARAJAN


Copyright © 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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