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Movie Review: 1977 (2009) Back to Movie
Rate movie A movie review by Balaji Balasubramaniam
Fans Rating: 71%%71%% 71% (9 votes)
Movie Still Sarathkumar donning the roles of both the saintly father and the more action-oriented son is a familiar sight for us Tamil cinema viewers. While the earlier films focused on the relationship between father and son in a small-scale setting, 1977 is more ambitious, spanning multiple countries and generations. But that increased ambition only leads to more amateurishness in the film, which makes all those Vijayakanth films look like spectacular and racy action adventures by comparison.

Rasaiya(Sarathkumar) is a well-respected old man in a small fishing hamlet. His son Vetrivel(Sarathkumar) has just returned home after winning a gold medal from the President's hands for being the best scientist in the country. When Rasaiya sees a photo in a newspaper, he immediately packs his bags and sets out. But the stress is too much for him and he dies without telling anybody about what he saw. Vetrivel's search of his father's belongings leads him to Malaysia, where he learns that his father was an escaped criminal. He sets about clearing his father's name and a journalist Inba(Farzana) and a lawyer Chandni(Nameetha) become his allies.

Though 1977 starts off in a small village in India, the bulk of the action takes place in Malaysia as Sarath tries to solve a 30-year-old crime. With a mystery and an exotic locale, the story has the potential to be transformed into an investigative thriller or atleast an action adventure but at no point does the screenplay seem interested in turning the film into either of those. Instead it is interested more in silly comedy, feeble romance and ofcourse, showcasing Sarath as a larger-than-life hero. Together, these three aspects take up the majority of the screen time, making the movie silly and boring.

The film is completely amateurish at both the macro and the micro level. At the macro level, the plot has little suspense and the 'surprise' twists are obvious a mile away. The director has made no effort to develop even a mildly complicated screenplay and resorts to the easiest ways to solve things(for instance, Sarath learns about what actually happened in the past from a character that he meets in Malaysia). And the identities of the bad guys are clear from the moment they are introduced, making the final revelations anti-climactic. When we go down to the micro level, individual scenes display the same characteristics. Or lack thereof. Whether its the scene where Sarathkumar gets a 'Young' scientist award or one where a character is shot in the back while dangling out a building window but mysteriously gets a bullet hole on his forehead, the scenes lack continuity, coherence and finesse in execution.

The expected flashback that reveals the truth works a little better than the rest of the movie. It also has action (though the older Sarath's entry with guns blazing is one moment that works) and unnecessary violence but the brief moments with Sarath's family provide a welcome respite and resonate well. The fact that we know the outcome of the flashback reduces the suspense but Sarath's run brings a little tension and his escape(like the way the cross from the Church figures in the proceedings) contains a few surprises.

Sarathkumar is much more believable as the old man and the Malaysian police officer than as the scientist. Considering the timing of the movie's release, the lack of political overtones - barring the introduction song which improbably brings in his party's flag and colors - is surprising but a welcome surprise ofcourse. Nameetha and Farzana are given professions (the former is a lawywr while the latter is a journalist) that look like they would come in useful but soon prove that they are there simply for eyecandy. Jayasudha looks completely lost. Vivek once again follows Vadivelu's route of getting hurt to make us laugh. But he is more irritating than funny as he consistently misinterprets a Chinese woman and gets into all sorts of trouble. Vidyasagar disappoints once again but the songs are still more listenable than the kind of songs we usually get from Sarathkumar-starrers. The movie also features what must be the first item number set in a kid's birthday party!

Rate movie A movie review by Balaji Balasubramaniam