Monday, April 07, 2008

Yaaradi Nee Mohini

With Kaadhal Konden, 7/G Rainbow Colony and Pudhuppettai, Selvaraghavan created a certain image for himself as a director. The films dealt with youth angst in a raw, in-your-face style that struck a chord with the viewers. He directed Yaaradi Nee Mohini's Telugu original Aadavari Matalaku Ardhalu Verule and has penned the story and screenplay for the Tamil version but those expecting his kind of a film are in for a big surprise. It is a pleasant, straightforward romance with a rather familiar feel to it. The heavy sentiments and crude comedy don't mix too well but the film works well on the whole, with something for everyone.

Vasu(Dhanush) has been looking for a job for five years without much success. Its love at first sight when he spots Keerthi(Nayanthara) one day and learning that she works in a software firm gives him an extra incentive to land a job in the same company. He is successful in getting the job and after a few initial hiccups, earns Keerthi's friendship. But when he reveals his love for her, he is in for a rude shock.

The most surprising thing about Yaaradi Nee Mohini is the lack of surprise! Whether Dhanush's transformation in Kaadhal Konden or Soniya's boldness in 7/G Rainbow Colony or the lack of sentiments in Pudhuppettai, Selva's films always seemed to shock - or atleast - surprise us. They boldly went against the norm and pushed the envelope when it came to characters and relationships. But YNM is content with a smooth flow. From the father-son relationship to the midpoint surprise to Nayanthara's large family(seen in Jodi) to Dhanush's dilemma as he is caught between his love and his newfound relationships(seen quite recently in Kannum Kannum), the film presents story tracks and plot points that have a familiar feel. There are flashes of originality at places but for the most part, he film is happy to simply entertain us rather than surprise us.

The relationship between Raghuvaran and Dhanush mimics the one we've seen in several movies - the good-for-nothing, unemployed son and the concerned, unhappy father. But helped by the performances of the two, the relationship works. Their mood swings seem too extreme and their language sometimes sounds too harsh but they do successfully convey all the dynamics - affection, pride, anxiety - of the relationship between them.

The film is set in the software industry but handles the associated segments with an amateurishness that is appalling. The details of Dhanush's group discussion and interview are understandably glossed over but the workings of his company, whether its Nayanthara's gruff behavior with him or his own overnight rescue of their product from a 'system crash', don't seem to resemble a professional software concern even remotely. These sequences don't take up much time but the little we see raises as many laughs as the movie's more overt comedy scenes. The movie also spends a little bit of time in Australia but the set-like locations(like the bridge with the huge moon in the background) and scenes that feel like they were merged with more exotic backgrounds give rise to doubts about where the scenes were really filmed.

Once Dhanush goes to Nayanthara's village, the film gets some good laughs from placing him in a fish-out-of-water scenario but the laughs feel contrived and don't fit in. For instance, public farting could be funny but when the people involved have been shown, in just the previous scene, as belonging to an orthodox, strict family that's up at the crack of dawn to chant prayers, the laughs become muted because of the incongruity of it all. This is repeated quite a few times. Dhanush's discomfort and exasperation are very funny but the situations leading to that that are rather unrealistic. On the other hand, Nayanthara's sister's courting of Dhanush is funny since its rather cute and the Paalakkaattu... remix adds to the fun.

The role fits Dhanush like a glove. His playful nature and lighthearted antics make him likeable and he proves to have nice comic timing. Nayanthara looks great even if a little mature. She is just required to look serious most of the time but late into the movie, when crying for her little sister, she shows that she has good flair for comedy too. Raghuvaran perfectly conveys the contrasting aspects of his character and shines in the scene where he goes to meet Nayanthara. Karthick does well as Dhanush's friend while Karunas gets just 1 scene, where he talks to Nayanthara on the phone, to make us laugh. Yuvan's background score sounds like Poovizhi Vaasalile's Chinna Chinna Rojappoove... in a few places. Among the songs, Oru Naalaikkul... and Venmegam... take top honors in picturization also. Nenjai Kasakki... and Baby Oh Baby... are unnecessary item numbers, with the dancers' costumes threatening the film's claim to be a family film.


At 11:21 PM, Blogger Bart said...

Agree with you. Felt the movie was abound with cliched settings but still managed to entertain. The screenplay and cast were the key in carrying forward the sequences - Raghuvaran, Karthick, Saranya?! (Nayan's sister), K.Vishwanath, Sugumari all did their bits pretty well.
BTW, did you notice "Thanks to music director Imman" in the title cards? I think some bit of re-recording might've been helped by Imman (as we know the tiff between Selvaraghavan and YSR).
All said and done, I hope it is "Pudhupettai" type of Selvaraghavan in "Aayirathil oruvan" and not "YNM" type...

At 11:55 PM, Blogger Naren's said...

somehow the current crop of directors/screenwriters are doing it to the software industry, what the 80s cum 90s directors did to the on screen portrayals of colleges..Tamizh MA and this YNM can be as gross/crass stupidity ala any TR's college setting to YNM ther was nothing above average at all to merit a theater watch...just thirutti VCD stuff it tot he credits to IMMAAN gues it is both for RR and the palaghat song remix...and i even doubt if YSR was at all involved with this tamizh project by any means at all but for reusing his tunes of AMAV.

a tid bit on Ayirathil Oruvan...a friend of friend of mine at the NIFT,chennai has been entrusted with the costume designs for parthibhan which is supposed to be a kaatuvaasi kootatu thalaiavan kind of role...and if info is to be believed movie is more like a treasure hunt kinds...

At 12:34 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wish it was HJ who scored the music for this movie. He excels in these kind of romantic, fun movies where situations don't demand a great deal.

At 1:49 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

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At 2:09 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

WEll, Balaji, why does the heroine in all these sort of movies have to be Brahmin? I mean what if she is a me shut my mouth? They cant be made fun of right?

But, yeah orthodox, strict - doesnt preclude public farting, btw. It can happen to anyone :-)

At 7:34 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I mean what if she is a mus..."

She prolly would have been mus... in a Manirathnam movie :)

Nice review, bb!

At 7:52 AM, Blogger D.E.V said...

Has k. visvanath acted in any tamil films before this? i've seen him in many telugu films but dunt think have seen him lately in any tamil films. Any prominient films he acted before in tamil?

At 8:05 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

kaakai siraginilae

At 8:30 AM, Blogger Kay said...

Hi BB,

I saw the movie yesterday at IMC. Only person there for the 4:30 show. The movie was nice - but just a little too crass, too unbelievable and too touchy feely in a few scenes.

The relationship between Sugumari and Dhanush was never nurturing in the first place for Sugumari to warrant moving with him to Chennai.

The public display of going to the bathroom in the open fields - Which village is this? Any village and every village in Tamilnadu has indoor plumbing now. It's OK for the men. Dont tell me that the women go in the open too. Too crass.

When is tamil cinema going to stop hitting women in movies? Even for fun! Dhanush smacks Nayantara in the head for daring to be slightly hysterical after her sister's rescue from the well. Also the casual using of the suffix "di" when he gets annoyed after she refuses to reciprocate her love. I am seeing that more and more in every movie nowadays. She is his senior office at work. C'mom , a little respect..

Anyway, it was a feel good movie but the director's inexperience shows here and there. Dhanush has done a good job. Nayantara is OK. I really wish she would smile a little more. She looks a bit wooden throughout the movie...


At 9:45 AM, Blogger Srivatsan Sridharan said...


Just as Chinnijayanth is still a college dude, I'm puzzled how long Dhanush will still appear as jobless youth. Youth acceptable but jobless, tooo tooo much :)

At 8:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

with the kinda of economic boom that india is going through right now, it is very difficult to believe that there are vellai illatha pattadhareegal anymore. and i hope dhanush varies his roles a bit more.

At 10:59 PM, Blogger Balaji said...

bart, nope didn't notice imman on the credits.

yeah i'm hoping for the selva of old in AO. we have enough directors to give us generic films like YNM :)

narens, nice comparison on the portrayal of colleges though we still haven't got that one right either :)

parthi, i thot YSR did a pretty good job :)

anon, that's a question i get each time a Brahmin family is shown in this light. but we all know the answer to that :)

anon, thanx :)

anon, those were the 2 i could think of too. thanx :)

kay, a pretty good review there. agree with u on all the points u've mentioned as well as ur summary :)

srivatsan, we're used to that kinda stereotyping in Tamil cinema. just ask mohan or murali :)

anon, nice. i never thot of that point :)

At 6:31 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Though others have stated it above, I cannot just overstate the stereotyping of the brahmin community in tamil films. I dont know if any other community can be so stereotyped and lampooned and people can get away with it. Muslims, for one, would explode the minute this happens.

The Brahmin community has for long been the butt of crass humor and outrageous stereotyping. Selvaraghavan joins the class of men that have some sort of fantasy about Brahmin Women and want to attain them at the same time ridicule their community. This sort of fetish is neither new nor uncommon among tamilians.

This is getting too much. Right from before the days of Vedham Pudhidu(Ok movie BTW), Bharathiraajaaa and a host of other otherwise superstitious but intellectually challenged directors played to this sentiment to capture their target audience.

If tamilians are this racist, then we have no business telling the Hindi film industry not to lampoon tamilians in the Mehmood/SRK(OSO) brand of vulgar characterizations.

Indeed, this is just one of those things that reveal prejudices as they are: Indians are the most Racist people on the planet. Even the most backward White Americans from the southern United States have made much better progress. The legacy holders of the indus valley civilization - we leave no opportunity to point out that Europeans were sitting on trees while our people were inventing the Zero.

We are pretty much getting back on the trees with a Cultural Zero while others are moving far ahead.

Vaazhga Bhaaratham. Vaazhga Thamizh Kalaachaaram(sic).

At 9:00 AM, Blogger mitr_bayarea said...


okay- thanks for the alasal review, as usual...this one will be watched in DVD!

At 10:47 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Every community is being stereotyped in Tamil cinema. Like.. the cabaret dancers had been Anglo-Indians for a long time (Stella, Rita, ...).

At 12:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just watched the film earlier today. Loved the film on the whole. you were right, i was expecting an element of surprise to pop which eventually didn't. I was tearing in nearly all of raguvaran's scenes. Such an amazing actor in the movie. The father-son combination btwn the both of them worked really well if u asked me.

N oh, on another note, the title of the hindi remake of ghajini is going to be ghajini anyway since Aamir Khan kept refering to the movie as the ghajini remake in his blog posts. That is one movie i'm awaiting this deepavali. For all the right reasons plus for aamir's version of 6 packed abs.


At 11:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

hi guys
please let me know whats the climax i watched it in satyam but im still confussing whether nayan is married to kartik or not.......................

At 4:06 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hated the movie. The first half was passable, but the second half was sick. Even the supposedly "cute" way Nayan's sis romances Dhanush is a cliche in a new bottle. Instead of another woman romancing the hero to make the heroine realise that she loves the hero, here its her sis. I liked Santosh... better. A much better remake and I would rather watch that movie anyday. What abt Nepali??

At 4:08 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not to mention the software guffaws and the passing of Malaysia (or some South East Asian country) as Australia. Duh....

At 11:17 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

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