Movies like Chellame and Kaadhal
had led me to believe that Bharath had a good eye for selecting films with interesting stories.
But February 14 puts an end to that belief. The director shows some skill in creating
a good screenplay but that's not enough to cover up the gaping holes in the underlying story
and illogical acts of its characters.
Shiva(Bharath) gains admission to St.Peters college in Bangalore and soon runs into
Pooja(Renuka Menon), who was born and brought up in the US and has come to India to spend time
with her grandparents while completing her college education. Shiva falls for her but soon realises
that Pooja and he are as different as oil and water in every aspect like likes, dislikes,
dreams, aspirations, etc. With no one on her frequency, Pooja feels like a fish out of water in
Bangalore and wants to return to the US. So Shiva comes up with a plan to get her to stay.
Director Hosimin manages to create a screenplay that is not always predictable. But unpredictability
doesn't always equate to being clever or practical and that's the case here. When Bharath learns about
Renuka's favorites from her computer(!), I thought I knew how the movie was going to proceed(especially
since Priyasakhi is so fresh in my mind). But the plan Bharath comes up
with is not what I expected(never mind that it is sillier than what I had expected!). The director
then has to resort to some tricks to keep the story moving. For instance, the letter that
Bharath places in Renuka's notebook disappears and doesn't make an appearance until the end.
We've had lots of movies where people fall in love at first sight. We've even had movies where
someone falls in love after simply hearing the voice of another person. February 14 takes
things one step further as one of the characters falls in love without seeing or hearing the
other person. Naturally a major part of the film's running time is spent on the person trying
to uncover the identity of the mysterious lover. This is familiar stuff. In fact, one of the
techniques used is exactly what was used in University.
The basic problem with February 14 is that all its characters seem devoid of basic common
sense. They behave illogically(like falling in love with someone who they've never seen or
heard) and seem to always take the most roundabout way to solve even simple problems. If you
are placing a letter in a certain place, you know that someone always picks it up and you want
to find the identity of that someone, couldn't you simply hide nearby until the person picks
it up? But that never seems to occur to the character in this movie. So it is clear that the
characters' behavior is dictated by the screenplay and they never seem like real people. And
that detachment is always a problem in a romance.
Bharath plays his down-to-earth part sincerely and dances well in his unique, familiar style.
Renuka Menon has her moments both in looks and acting. Vadivelu appears as the canteen owner
but its Bharath's friends raise more laughs with their comments and one-liners. Some good
imagination is evident in the way Bharath's conscience is given life through a cartoon character.
Laila Majnu... is a catchy number but the two song bits were more catchy and better
picturized that any of the full-length songs. Rathnavel's cinematography catches the eye at more
than one place(one such place is the cycle race, which is energetically picturized). One of the
shots in the climax, with the camera capturing the falling rain and the two characters from
straight above, is really spectacular.