"Kannamma", a film scripted by DMK president M. Karunanidhi, is the top release Friday in theatres across Tamil Nadu.
At the Sathyam multiplex large hoardings announce that the DMK leader has written the screenplay, dialogues and two of the film's songs.
At the preview Thursday the hall was packed with DMK loyalists because Karunanidhi, 80, is known to deliver a political message in each of his films.
Karunanidhi is famous for his dialogues in "Parasakthi", which saw the rise of Sivaji Ganesan as a Tamil superstar.
"Kannamma" opens with a soliloquy on the people, the nation and the DMK patriarch's hopes for its future. But an inauspicious note is introduced with the mocking recitation of Subramania Bharati's famous lines addressed to "Kannamma".
The story is that of a rich medical student, Kannamma - played by Meena - who falls in love with Anandan (Premkumar) after he saves her from an acid attack by her driver, Babu (Karate Raja).
Anandan's friend Madan (Venkat) becomes Kannamma's ever-vigilant sentinel, risking his own marriage with Mala (Vindhya).
Kannamma comes to know of Anandan's martyrdom through TV. Her baby is disputed and she is brought before a village council. These scenes sorely test the viewer's intelligence.
With a new generation gradually taking over the party, octogenarian Karunanidhi's message perhaps lies in the two songs he has written, one of which is addressed to youth. The other song, "Iru vizhi mazhai", is sung by Vani Jayaram.
The film has quite a few item numbers choreographed by John Babu and as many fights. The song likely to top the charts is "Kai kudu, kai kudu, Kannamma" with lyrics by Vairamuthu and music by S.A. Rajkumar.
But amateur direction by S.S. Baba Vikram and editing by Vikram Raja make the much-hyped film little more than propaganda.
The film is peppered with messages on nationalism, caste and communal harmony. But it lacks the spellbinding effect of certain war films.
Also the hi-tech special effects that make India-Pakistan war films box-office hits are missing.
There are too many references to the TV news of the Kargil war, the camera returning repeatedly to shots of Karunanidhi and Murasoli Maran handing aid to Kargil victims.
But there is hardly any focused link to the war. Pictures of Congress leaders - from Jawarharlal Nehru to Manmohan Singh - signify the DMK chief's blessings for his party's alliance with the Congress.
It is 12 years since Karunanidhi wrote a film script. Many are wondering what the DMK patriarch's next film, "Mannin Mainthan", will have to say.
Proceeds from the film will go to victims of the Dec 26 tsunami.