UNNAI KANN THEDUTHEY

A movie review by Balaji Balasubramaniam


Cast: Satyaraj, Kushboo, Ravali, Livingston, Vivek, Manivannan, Senthil, 'Kovai' Sarala, Mansur Ali Khan
Music: Deva
Direction: Sundar. C

Midway through Unnai Kann Theduthey, I forgot that it was a Sundar.C movie. Until then, the movie, set in a marriage hall, had all the hallmarks of his movie - lots of characters, confusion and comedy. But at the midpoint, a murder is introduced into the proceedings and for a while thereafter, the movie shows signs of developing into an intriguing whodunnit. But the movie flatters to deceive. The murder mystery is resolved in the least interesting way possible with the no twists regarding the identity of the murderer and the motive turning out to be completely ordinary. After all the attempts at building up tension, the climax too is a cop-out that leaves several questions unanswered.

The police find a dead body, clutching a thaali and with a wedding invitation stuffed in the pocket, in the Coovum river. The setting then moves to a marriage hall where preparations are on for the wedding of Vaidehi, the sister of Prabhu(Livingston). His wife Charulatha(Kushboo) is the one running the show as the relatives show up one by one. Vichu(Satyaraj) joins the fun as the cook's(Manivannan) assistant and is the target of Gayatri's(Ravali) affections. Things heat up when the dead body in the river is found to have links to the wedding.

Almost the entire movie, barring the flashbacks and song sequences, takes place inside the marriage hall over a span of two days. Sundar has captured the festive atmosphere of a wedding well and given each of the characters a small story of their own. This keeps things moving initially. The huge gallery of supporting actors no doubt helps here. There are some laughs from Manivannan, Vivek and 'Kovai' Sarala with 'Delhi' Ganesh providing minor support. Vivek's first plan to put Satyaraj out of the picture is stolen(afterall, this is a Sundar. C movie!) but the scenes where he goes after the old lady for the chloroform and where 'Delhi' Ganesh catches him spying on his daughter, offer the best laughs.

The thaali found with the dead man is used to reveal the suspect but the revelation is the result of one simple question that could've been asked right at the beginning. The entire first half becomes irrelevant at this point, except as a long way of introducing the characters. If this is how the police go about investigating murders, its no wonder cases in TamilNadu take so long to be solved! But the the identity of the suspect and the twist before this scene all make us sit up and renew our interest in the movie which seemed to be meandering aimlessly. For awhile, the interest is maintained with signs of a cat-and-mouse game between Satyaraj and the suspect.

But hopes of a thriller are quickly dashed. In the hands of a better director, the marriage setting, with its multitude of characters, might have provided the perfect foil for a whodunnit. But not here. The flashback provides a routine reason for the murder and drains all suspense from the movie. The only question left is the identity of the dead man and that is fairly obvious. The identity of the suspect also makes the climax a foregone conclusion and the director's numerous, contrived attempts to introduce tension never really work. Mansur Ali Khan's sequence, which has no connection to the main story, seems to have been introduced solely to give Satyaraj a chance to fight.

Satyaraj is energetic but his exaggerated Brahmin accent feels overdone at times. Kushboo looks sweet and completely at home in the 'madisaar'. Small expressions like smiling an invitation a new relation and swerving aside to let them pass are done so naturally. Her face also expresses the sorrow well in the heavier scenes. Ravali has nothing to do other than chasing after Satyaraj, rather audaciously sometimes. Deva brazenly copies Michael Jackson for the title song and another hindi tune. But the other songs are quite pleasant.