K.P. Jagannaath's 'Raman Thediya Seethai' lives up to the expectations of a clean family entertainer. A neat screenplay with some slick direction makes this tale come to life. The protagonist is on a quest to find an apt bride but then he is haunted by a rather embarrassing past. The honest man that he is wants to come clean about his past to prospective brides but is not met with much enthusiasm.
Rajesh Yadav's brilliant camera work, Vidhyasagar's refreshing tunes both with the songs and the background score and Vairabalan's art work merge very well to bring out the desired effects. Good team work is evident right through and that has certainly translated itself very well with the end result. Though the film carries the same title of the MGR - Jayalalitha 1972 film, the name probably could not have been better as it synchronizes perfectly with the characters involved.
One aspect that has many-a-time made movies go astray is when similar characters beat-about-the-bush confusing and even irritating the audience without actually being able to create identities. Well, such movies can most definitely learn a thing or two from 'Raman Thediya Seethai' when it comes to showcasing characters. Each character has a distinct tone with it and when interaction with intensity arises, the clear depiction actually helps audiences relate with the tempo that is created. Something very few directors are capable of.
Apart from Cheran who plays the protagonist, there are two other men whose lives have been shown in montage sequences - the characters played by Pasupathy and Nithin Sathya. Both of them have excelled tremendously. Pasupathy has reiterated once again that he is a performer with quality. Playing a visually challenged Radio Jockey, the expressive actor has emoted very well despite the fact that his character did not allow him to use his eyes except in one shot. His body language and general poise is very much in tune with reality.
Many struggling actors might turn green with envy with the character that Nithin Sathya has played. Despite the character itself being very interesting, Nithin Sathya's performance has been quite good as the 'lovable' thief turned auto driver. Something the masses would simply love.
There is no dearth for beautiful girls in the film. Vimala Raman, Ramya Nambeesan, Gajala, Karthiga and Navya Nair fill in with their respective screen time adding freshness with their diverse portrayals.
Venu (Cheran), a successful businessman seems to have everything in life except a wife. The film starts off with him in Nagerkoil where he is in the process of selecting a bride. Ranjitha (Vimala Raman) seems perfectly happy with him until she hears about his past. Venu, a hard working student needed psychiatric help in order to come to terms with life and his stammering during nervous periods still exist as a naked reminder to his troubled times. The denial makes Venu hunt for other girls and goes to Vidhya's (Ramya Nambeesan) house. The girl says 'yes' and marriage preparations get underway. Happiness is in the air until the girl elopes with her boyfriend on the day of marriage. Venu takes the blame upon himself and become a nervous wreck. In comes a visually challenged man Nedumaran (Pasupathy) a Radio Jockey who hosts a positive thinking way-to-success show. After getting to know about Nedumaran's rather unusual love affair with Isaitamil (Gajala) ad ther eventual marriage, Cheran oozes with confidence and goes back to Nagerkoil to 'seek' another prospect. This time arranged by Manivannan (Vidhya's father) who has a troubled conscience that pricks him.
Venu meets a pregnant Vidhya there and learns about her pathetic life of poverty and helps her in all ways possible especially because she is all alone in life. The girl he had gone to 'seek,' Gayathri, played by Karthiga appears smart and looks forward to interacting with him for a month by phone and email before making a decision. This is perfectly acceptable to Venu. But then he learns about Gunasekharan (Nithin Sathya) ardent love for Karthiga and backs out. The story of how Gunasekharan fell in love with Gayathri which made him a responsible man as narrated by himself appeals with tinges of comic relief.
Venu's constant bumping into Ranjitha, the girl who had rejected him first, shapes up with shades of regret. Vidhya's helpless position and Venu's bride hunting (he seems to be an expert at being rejected by now) diversifies with him 'seeking' a policewoman played by Navya Nair. Comical situations arise and confusion prevails.
Does Venu get the girl he desires forms the finale. In order to not make things obvious, the director has employed certain techniques which can be termed 'irrelevant shots'. The ending might appear abrupt but on the whole the film succeeds in entertaining.
Two action sequences are part of the film probably to adhere to the so-called commercial template most directors' bow down to these days (fear element at work?).
The success of this film could broaden the horizon of present day Tamil Cinema that has taken a beating because of run-of-the-mill soaps that fight for audiences inside peoples' living rooms. It can be recalled that movies without much of 'masala' and action are a rare commodity these days.
'Raman Thediya Seethai' is a film sans 'masala' and with a few negligible stunt sequences. Its success will definitely score a point in the right direction and probably might even encourage many other filmmakers to tread the path of Storytelling devoid of mindless stuff.