A movie review by Balaji Balasubramaniam

Cast: Karthik, Laila, Malavika, 'Kaka' Radhakrishnan, M.S.Viswanathan, Jaiganesh, Nambiar, Manorama, Kuyili, 'Nizhalgal' Ravi, Ramesh Khanna
Music: Bharadwaj
Direction: Selvaa

Actors from the previous generation hold center-stage in this Kavithaalaya movie dedicated to the older generation. But the honorable intention doesn't translate into more than average viewing, especially when considering that this is the sophomore offering from the team behind Pooveli, my favorite movie of the year so far.

Muthu(Karthik) is the favorite employee at Rojaavanam, a home for the aged owned jointly by two friends(Ravikumar and 'Nizhalgal' Ravi). Sindhu(Malavika) is a psychology student staying at the home. Muthu falls in love with Roja(Laila), the daughter of his boss but learns that the boss and his friend, had decided long ago that their children would be married and this has resulted in the friend's son growing up enamoured of Roja. Roja's father accepts Muthu as his son-in-law but his friend, angered at this, decides to bulldoze Rojavanam to the ground.

This wafer-thin story is moved along by the antics of the foursome, 'Kaka' Radhakrishnan, M.S.Viswanathan, Jaiganesh and Nambiar. It is fun seeing them trying to fix Karthik up with a girl and goading him to propose to Laila. Among them 'Kaka' Radhakrishnan has the choicest lines. There are enough sentiments considering that each of them has his own sad story concerning his offspring. While it is touching the first time, it soon gets tiring listening to them offer basically variations on the same story of their sons ill-treating them.

The Karthik-Laila romance is developed nicely and there is a fight sequence that brought a smile to my lips. But Malavika's feelings for Karthik are too abrupt for us to really take them seriously and care about her. Though Laila's final decision in the climax makes some sense, her father's silent acceptance of that, especially in the light of what happened earlier, seems odd. During this age of computers and high-tech, it's rather strange seeing the two friends decide to have their children's betrothal and make their children exchange rings at such a young age.

Karthik takes a backstage to the older actors during most of the first half. He breezes through a role that just requires him to be really, really good and is a retread of his roles in Nilave Mugam Kaattu and Aanandha Poongaatre. The older actors make full use of their chance. Laila looks sweet but has to improve her acting. Malavika has a really small role. The 'bad pick' slot goes to the actor who potrays Shiva. With a blank, expressionless face and an unemotional voice, he just makes worse, what is already a poorly-defined character to begin with. Ramesh Khanna has one funny scene with Dhamu. Bharadwaj's songs are passable but rather unimaginatively picturised.

After Pooveli, director Selvaa seems to have taken a step backwards with Rojaavanam. Lets hope he gets back his touch with his next effort.