MAJUNU

A movie review by Balaji Balasubramaniam


Cast: Prashanth, Rinke Khanna, Raghuvaran, Vivek
Music: Harris Jayaraj
Direction: Ravichandran

Majunu incorporates both terrorism and romance into its story. But if the combination raises hopes of another Roja, please banish all such thoughts from your mind. The listless romance and the amateurish attempts at portraying terrorism here just prove that the same issues that were merged so effortlessly and effectively in Manirathnam's classic can also be combined to create a film that resides on the other end of the 'watchable' scale.

Vasanth(Prashanth) falls in love with Heena(Rinke Khanna), who lives in Calcutta and is on a visit to his college. Meanwhile Vasanth's father Gajapathy(Raghuvaran), an MP, is the target of terrorists and under a peculiar set of circumstances, Heena becomes the prime suspect after an attack on his life. Vasanth hides her in his own house before packing her off to Calcutta. But when he goes there in search of her, she is forced to refuse to acknowledge her feelings for him.

Ravichandran, who made the immensely watchable Kannedhire Thondrinaal, proves to be incapable of handling the terrorism angle of the movie in any kind of a believable manner. Not a single scene involving the terrorists is logical as they frequently switch between speaking Hindi and Tamil, run around with no concern for privacy, and are inefficient enough to drop sticks of gelatin in autos. While the reason behind their targetting Raghuvaran is not completely clear, they suddenly switch tracks and begin to hunt Prashanth. The climax is a complete disappointment with Prashanth not even getting a chance to display his heroism.

The fact that Prashanth hides Rinke Khanna in his own house, right under the noses of his father's henchmen who are searching for her, appears to be the big 'hook' of the movie. The circumstances leading up to her being the prime suspect are clever but Prashanth's actions are not. When Rinke is the suspect in such a big crime, wouldn't any reasonable person try to clear Rinke's name and prove her innocence instead of hiding her? Prashanth hiding Rinke leads to some moments of mild tension both in the house and later, when he takes her to the railway station, but the basic lack of reason behind his actions makes the entire segment ineffective. Rinke's character takes even more of a beating in the second half when she hides facts that she should report to someone immediately.

With both the romance and terrorism failing to involve us, Vivek becomes the lifeline of the movie and once again, he rises to the occasion admirably. While his initial scenes are not very funny, he gets better as the movie proceeds and comes into his own in Calcutta. His description of the driving techniques of Tamilnadu auto drivers, his comparison of the 'bathroom situation' in Calcutta and his credit card routine at the restaurant are some of the more hilarious routines. There are also several smaller segments like his reading of the STD/ISD/PCO lettering and his rendition of two song clips from Alaipayuthey.

Prashanth acquits himself creditably, be it in fighting, dancing or emoting. But Rinke Khanna does not seem to possess any quality(apart from a prestigious lineage - she is the daughter of Rajesh Khanna and Dimple Kapadia) that could have made the director pick her as the heroine. She is short, not very pretty and doesn't act well. Raghuvaran is all fire before surrendering meekly to Prashanth's traditional arguments about love. Harris Jayaraj still seems to have the Vaseegara... hangover since Mudhal Kanave... sounds a lot like his breakout hit. Pinju Thendrale... and Gulmohar Malare... are both melodious songs.