Aug 29 2012
Attakathi tells a simple story and is populated with familiar characters. But its the way in which it tells the story that helps it stand out. Like Kalavaani, Attakathi also moves its story along with a humorous undertone. This helps it capture situations in unique fashion in the first half and keeps things interesting when the story becomes more routine.
Dinakaran(Dinesh), who attends a tutorial college after flunking 12th, tells everyone that he is studying B.A. History, which in fact is his dream course since he feels that it is ‘cool’. Love is the predominant thing for Dina and his friends and dominates their conversations and lives. After a few failed attempts, Dina, who has sworn to have a love marriage, catches the eye of Poornima(Nandita), who is studying 11th standard in a neighboring village.
Attakathi has a consistent undercurrent of humor that keeps us smiling. The situation in Dinesh’s house, the conversations with his friends, his attempts at romance and later, the college setting with its unique traditions(like the Route Thala role) all lend themselves easily to light comedy. The dialogs are casual and funny and the director enhances the humor by presenting the scenes using different techniques(voice-overs, flashbacks, montages, etc.). But the film’s uniqueness comes from the way he also keeps us smiling and laughing through heartbreaks and love failure.
The film’s light-hearted tone helps it casually break some deep-rooted traditions of Tamil cinema. The first ofcourse is romance. We’ve seen our heroes invest everything into their love and be heartbroken when it fails. But for Dinesh, though his love is just as serious, the heartbreak lasts only until he sees the next girl and even the sorrow is manufactured as he feigns sadness only to see if there is the possibility of a second chance(or to grab some bondas!). This lends a sense of unpredictability to the proceedings and as he falls for different girls, the movie proceeds for a long time without us knowing even who the heroine is.
The other aspect that is surprising is the portrayal of Dinesh’s friends. Initially they are the usual friends, hanging out with him and teasing him about his attempts at love. When a love affair fails, we are used to seeing the friends rally around their buddy and either lift his spirits or commiserate with him by singing songs about the futility of love. Here the friends make fun of him and then slink away with various reasons when Dinesh asks too much of them.
The film’s second half tells a more routine love story. The story itself is told well and the Dinesh’s transformation from someone who has given up on love to someone who finds himself falling in love is charted interestingly and believably. But the uniqueness of the first half is lost as the film employs all the cliches it broke in the first half as the boy finds himself in the grip of love, the girl fights for her love and the friends help the boy. The end is definitely contrived but also manages to be surprising.
The film features great casting led by Dinesh who makes a very impressive debut. He is able to change his body language and diction to suit the different stages of his character perfectly. The college girl part fits Nandita better than the school girl part. The actors who play Dinesh’s parents deserve special mention for their completely natural dialog delivery. The film surprisingly doesn’t have any group songs or duets, which are a given for this genre. Aadi Ponaa Aavani… and Nadu Kadalila… are gaana songs but are catchy without being raucous. Aasai Oru Pulveli… is a slow song that grows on us.
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