Even as director Hari disappointed us with a string of movies like Aaru,
Thaamirabharani and Vel, there was always the sliver
of hope that he would someday regain the touch he showed in his first 2 movies and serve up another
Thamizh or Saamy. That hope is all but lost with
his latest offering Seval. Completely regressive and shamelessly manipulative, it makes us add Hari to the list
(led by Perarasu) of directors who are determined to stonewall Tamil cinema's advancement.
Murugesan(Bharath), a flower-seller, is an irresponsible, good-for-nothing young man, constantly being chided by his
father. He falls for Parijatham(Poonam Bajwa), the daughter of a Brahmin priest. Parijatham, in order to stop Murugesan
from romancing her, asks him to turn over a new leaf and earn his father's love and respect. Meanwhile, Parijatham's sister
Gayatri(Simran) gets married and her unscrupulous brother-in-law is ready to help the village landlord(Sampath), who has his
eyes on Parijatham.
Ever since Aaydha Ezhuthu and Virumaandi,
may of our directors have attempted to add spice to their stories by narrating them via non-chronological screenplays.
What was a fresh and new technique in 2004 has now gotten stale with every other movie incorporating a screenplay that moves
backward and forward in time, regardless of whether it serves any purpose other than giving the director a chance to say
"See, I did it too!". Hari does the same in Seval, starting off in the present, then moving to 1991 to show us
a few events and then moving further back to 1989 to show how it all started. Not only is this unnecessary for the kind of
story he narrates, it needlessly complicates things, making us think far more than necessary to understand the chronology
The romance between Bharath and Poonam is one of the few things the movie gets right. It has a light-hearted start with
Simran's misunderstanding about the object of Bharath's affections leading to a few mild laughs. Even after it gets
serious, Poonam's initial reluctance and her way of handling it are believable, as is her change of heart and the reasons
leading upto it. The relationship between Bharath and his father is also handled well though the number of recent movies
we've seen with the same 2 characters - the strict father and the wayward son who keeps disappointing him - makes many of
the situations and the dialogs seem familiar.
To Hari's credit, the story doesn't proceed exactly as expected and one of the plot developments, which doesn't happen too
often in Tamil cinema, especially in commercial entertainers, is a definite surprise. But the proceedings thereafter
wipe away all the goodwill earned by these surprises. As Poonam goes through some of the worst humiliation and torture endured
by a Tamil cinema heroine, the movie turns into a manipulative tearjerker. Only problem is, it disgusts us instead of moving
Bharath, who had some very interesting movies and roles early in his career, seems to have adopted the masala route, as
shown by movies like Pazhani and this. Though his choice of movies and directors is a little sad,
he is admittedly well-suited for these kinds of roles also since he fights and dances well and is sincere in his performance.
The orthodox Brahmin girl role sits well on new face Poonam Bajwa and she looks quite pretty. Simran gets the chance to show
of her comedy and histrionic skills and shows that she still hasn't lost touch with acting. Vadivelu gets a few laughs as
he tries to help Bharath convey his love to Poonam.