While movies with lesser-known stars and debutants have usually tended to play it safe by sticking to formulaic love
stories, we occassionally do get a movie that attempts to handle a different theme. Unnai Saranadainthen,
produced by SPB and starring his son Charan, is one such movie that looks at a different kind of friendship. Barring the
weak third act, the movie is engaging as it places one person in the middle of both a romance and friendship
and gets the other two to fight over him.
Nandha(S.P.B. Charan) and Kannan(Venkat Prabhu) have been close friends since childhood, with Kannan even being
kicked out of school after hitting with a stone, a teacher who beat Nandha. So when Kannan feels the need to succeed
in life, he goes looking for Nandha, who is working in the city. Bobby(Meera Vasudevan), a rich but lonely girl, falls for
Kannan's naieve but goodhearted ways and tries to win his heart. But Nandha, who was slighted by Bobby at a party,
doesn't want the relationship to work out and leverages Kannan's affection for him to achieve this.
Movies centred around friendship have been a dime a dozen in Tamil cinema. But the majority of those have been of the
kind that laud friendship, with the friends usually making sacrifices for the sake of the other. So Unnai Saranadainthen
looks different simply by virtue of the kind of friendship it revolves around. While Venkat Prabhu's character is more routine,
Charan's possessiveness lends a new dimension to his friendhip. This makes the movie interesting and Venkat Prabhu's
undying loyalty to him manages to keep us guessing on the route the movie will take also.
The movie takes awhile to get to its main story but manages to hold our interest up until them. It also successfully keeps
us in the dark about that main story. Santoshi's love for Charan and the rather late introduction of Meera lead us to believe
that the movie will focus on the Charan-Santoshi romance. So the change of track is a pleasant surprise. The change of
tone is an even better surprise since the movie changes from a light romance to a heavier movie with shades of a thriller.
The screenplay keeps us involved with Charan's machinations to drive a wedge between Venkat Prabhu and Meera. Meera's
character too has been fashioned well and sparks fly during her conversations with Charan. But coming after such strong
scenes, the third act of the movie is kind of a disappointment. It takes characters to the extreme which leads to some of their
acts losing their credibility. The proceedings are also stretched real long with one false climax after another.
Venkat Prabhu lands a role that has a lot of scope and makes a good impression. His naievete when commenting on Meera's dress
and his implicit confidence in Charan are endearing. But there are a few times where he crosses the line that divides acting
innocent and seeming mentally ill. Meera makes no such missteps. It is a very strong performance and she shines when realising
that she is fighting a losing battle with Charan. Charan brings out the gray shades of his character well. Riyaz Khan and
'Nizhalgal' Ravi don't have much to do. Considering that it is a family production, S.P.B's songs are more than a little
disappointing with none of them staying with us.