Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Favorite Tamil Love Stories - V

Rhythm


While full-length love stories are not all that common in Tamil cinema, mature love stories are really rare. But that alone doesn't make Rhythm stand out. It is an uncommonly soft, sensitive tale about a man and a woman who have both lost something but are living their lives deluding themselves that they don't need to fill the voids created by their losses. They do make each other realize the need to fill the void but the path after that realization is not all that smooth either. The relationship between Arjun and Meena starts off with friction and the way it transforms into friendship before blossoming into romance is portrayed beautifully.

Supporting characters play an invaluable role with Arjun's parents touching our hearts with their sadness at his lonely life. Their only goal in life is to see him happy again and they convey this clearly with just their looks and sighs. Lakshmi, though appearing late, is terrific as the mother-in-law who repents for her past mistakes and almost repeats them again(her confession to Meena is a superb scene). The boy playing Meena's son is likeable without being irritating like other child artistes and brings out his yearning for a dad in his life. Ramesh Arvind is delightful in a role that proved Vasanth could match Manirathnam in creating loveable characters and a subdued Jo was sweet.

My biggest grouse against Vasanth is that he wasn't brave enough to break Tamil cinema's tradition(we've seen the same thing in lesser movies like Ennavale, etc.) of the heroine being a virgin before marrying the hero. While Meena having a kid was a pleasant, convention-defying surprise, Vasanth meekly gave in to tradition by killing Ramesh Arvind before their first night and making the kid Meena's adopted son. That irked me more than the unnecessary fight and item numbers.

But inspite of those missteps, Rhythm definitely tackled a mature romance in a mature way and gave Tamil cinema one of its most heartfelt romances.

12 Comments:

At 12:23 PM, Blogger மு.கார்த்திகேயன் said...

Really I love this movie, Balaji!

I always love to see Vasanth, which carries some different look in that!

I also had the opinion when I saw it first time!

And.. And.. Arjun name is Karthikeyan!

 
At 12:34 PM, Blogger Filbert said...

The movie was too good that such minor shortcomings could be overlooked. I am sure Ram would be disappointed in seeing his favorite movie at number 5. Same here since I would have placed Rhythm way higher than 5. Anyway, will wait for your remaining posts.

 
At 1:13 PM, Anonymous ram said...

filbert, no...i am not disappointed coz i am way too excited to see this movie on BB's list!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
coz i remember him giving the movie 3 stars so didnt think it'd make the cut...
anyways, BB, your post made my day today...kalakittenge!!!! will definitely show this to Vasanth when I see him...he'll be mighty delighted...
will also take a print out of the comments b4 i leave to india...

here're my thoughts on rhythm:
http://www.geocities.com/ram_aishoo/Rhythm.htm

and, bb, just curious- did u revisit the movie recently? coz u seem to have a more emphatic reaction to the character interactions than u did in your review from 2000...? just curious...anyways, great!! am super happy to see this underrated gem in this list...

 
At 9:28 PM, Anonymous Sandya said...

I could possibly write a PhD on why Rhythm is leagues ahead of Kaadhal Kottai and Poove Unakkaaga and why it is Panjamaa Paadhagam (as my uncle would say! :-) to place it with the other two duds (comparatively speaking!)..

But then again, I'm always been haunted by the fact that Balaji often says (or defends) that 'this is his list' and this is 'what he likes.'

For the first time in a very long time, I will disagree on more than one count with you, Balaji, and say that both Kaadhal Kottai and Poove Unakkaga can hold a million candles in reverence of Rhythm.. but that's all they will always be able to do.

Don't get me wrong.. when it comes to entertainment value (with flaws intact), all these films range about the same.. but when it comes to polished approach, subtlety and genuine emotions and situations.. Rhythm stands alone and above the rest.. I'm sure Vasanth will have to work many years before he may be able to better this film!

Ram, ungaloda katchi dhaan naanum!:-) ;-) Chance kidaichcha ennoda 2000 review padeenga (not one of my best reviews.. but it expresses my faith in the film overall, even now!)

 
At 10:38 PM, Blogger KayKay said...

Dear Balaji, kudos for making a point few reviewers touch on: the mandatory virginity of a Tamil Movie Heroine unless of course she loses it to the main Hero who she'll end up marrying.
Contrast this against the repulsive and regressive trend of a hero raping a woman to prove his masculinity that's still prevalent in some movies(Varalaaru) and we can see some pretty skewed values being enacted on screen.
Having said that, Rhythm also gets my vote as one of the loveliest romances to come our way in a long time. I shall not dispute its ranking. Just seeing it included in your list is good enough for me.

 
At 6:52 AM, Blogger Me too said...

Vasanth is among the very few in Tamil cinema who is bold enough to come up with Mature & decent love stories(Keladi Kanmani, Rhythm, YNRAI) when Kasturi rajas and the like are still clinging onto vidalai kadhals!!!

 
At 7:53 AM, Anonymous ram said...

sandya, very nice review of rhythm...i've read it b4 on indolink...didnt know that u were the author...nice write-up.

 
At 9:33 AM, Anonymous vijay said...

The reason I didnt like Rhythm all that much is the pathetic predictable climax that had no tension to it. Obviously Vasanth is influenced by Mani and repeats Mani's themes but his executioin leaves a lot to be desired. The tension as to whether Revathi would meet with Mohan was palpable in Mouna raagam. In rhythm Lakshmi's character and the drawn out climax left me yawning. Also Vasanth's penchant for item songs and other incongrous commercial elements. Even in that he seems to have been influenced by Mani's earlier films. The unnecessary vulgar Dico shanthi comedy track in Nee paadhi naan paadhi comes to mind. Same with that one-sided love on Shyam in Hey nee romba azhaga irukka. Mani has matured since his early days. Lets hope Vasanth will one day. His execution is still not refined. His movies come across as a mix of realistic scenes interspersed with cliched scenes and badly placed commercial ingredients.

 
At 9:36 AM, Anonymous vijay said...

While the SPB-Radhika scenes were maturely handled and good in Keladi Kanmani, the opening romantic scenes with Ramesh and Anju were amateurish and oft-seen in Tamil movies.

Appu was another fiasco.

 
At 9:40 AM, Anonymous vijay said...

If I had to pick two movies of Vasanth despite whatever limitations they might have had, it would be Aasai and Keladi kanmani. Both these movies did a better job of holding my attention for the most part. In rhythm the Arjun-Meena portions were good. I cany say the same about the rest of the movie.

 
At 10:03 AM, Anonymous Anon21 said...

I was actually in India when 'Rythm' was released. When we got to the theater complex, the movie that we wanted to see (can't remember which one) was sold out. We considered watching 'Rythm' but overheard comments from some guys standing nearby, "Mapilla, onumae illadda indha padon. Periya aruvada!". So we decided not to watch it :)

But I watched it a couple of years later on DVD and was impressed. It is the kind of movie you would want to watch with your sweetheart and not your rowdy college friends :)

 
At 6:57 PM, Anonymous vidhya said...

Visiting after a long time..as usual this place is brimming with action.

Rhythm is my all time fav too. Last time when i was in chennai, i had a chance to meet director vasanth in woodlands drive in. (PBS and Vasanth are a staple there bet 5.30 Pm t0 6.30 Pm it seems) I asked him the same virginity question and he said that our southern audiences dont have a stomach for such kind of love stories as yet. :(

 

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