A movie review by Balaji Balasubramaniam

Cast: Dhanush, Aparna, Karunas
Music: Yuvan Shankar Raja
Direction: Stanley

With a hattrick of hits behind him, Dhanush has been on a roll and naturally, expectations for Pudhukottaiyilirundhu Saravanan, his fourth movie, were almost as high as those for Kamal's Virumaandi. Definitely not a conventional hero in either looks or physique, Dhanush has so far been in successful in picking characters that suit him. He continues to do that here but the movie itself, a modern day Ulagam Sutrum Vaaliban, is far too disconnected from logic and reality to get us involved.

Saravanan(Dhanush) finds a job in Singapore through an agent and lands there with high hopes of earning and sending back to his family, lots of money. Put up in cramped quarters, he gets into a fight with some Chinese immigrants there, resulting in one of them getting killed. On his agent's advice, Saravanan goes on the run, having lost his passport earlier, taking up oddjobs to earn enough money to get back to India. On the way, he is entrusted with the job of taking Shalini(Aparna) back to India, for which he is promised a big sum of money.

Like Anbe Sivam, Pudhukottaiyilirundhu Saravanan is a rare entry into the road movie genre. It could even be called more ambitious than Kamal's movie since it is international (Dhanush's journey takes him to Malaysia, Thailand and Burma). But unfortunately, the ambition has equated to a complete loss of realism. If crossing borders were this easy, people would never again attempt to get passports or visas the legal way! With each new border crossing, the means adopted by Dhanush and Aparna gets more unbelievable, with the last one where they cross over from Burma to India taking the cake. Here they sneak in through a hole in the fence, under the cover of a sandstorm that has forced the army to take refuge in their tents!

The same lack of logic and realism is evident in the way Dhanush and Aparna get together. We are supposed to believe that her uncle asks Dhanush, whom he has met only once before, to deliver his niece safely to her family in India! But the relationship between the two once they go on the run is enjoyable. Their little fights are sweet and small sequences (like their discussion on life and Dhanush's subsequent act) are cute and funny. Their falling for each other doesn't seem too cinematic and the way their characters are shaped makes it easy to believe when they gradually develop feelings for each other. The climax is short and effective.

As in Thirudaa Thirudi, Dhanush's character has been fashioned in a way that capitalises on his strengths. His playfulness and innocence are brought to the fore in many scenes and these make his character likeable. His is all fire in the fight sequences though their execution usually belies the build up. Aparna looks her part and seems very comfortable in front of the camera. Karunas adds another to his growing list of failed comedy tracks with his take-off on Vaali being both unfunny and vulgar. There is enough variety in both Yuvan Shankar's tunes and the way the song sequences have been picturised. Pudhu Kaadhal... and Malargale... are melodious while Baby Baby... is catchy with its lyrics making a nice transition from English to Tamil.