'Vaana' is another of the much hyped films released this season. The very fact that MS Raju has taken to direction with it has provided the intrigue element for this film. A remake of a Kannada film 'Mungaru Male', MS Raju tries his hand at pathos with this love story. Known for his mass entertainers, it is a detour for Raju from his usual brand of filmmaking.
He has said time and again that the film's story had touched him so much that he decided to direct the film himself. Then there were rumours that he would be casting his son in the lead role. But as they say, it's the present that matters and so we have Vinay playing the lead role of the rich, spoilt-brat kid Abhi or Abhiram. Then there is the girl he falls in love with Nandini (Meera Chopra, who was seen in 'Bangaram'). The fact that he lands in an open drain, the very first time he meets Nandini, does not deter our young hero from chasing her and trying to figure out who she is.
As luck would have it, he lands up in Anantagiri for a wedding with his mother Uma (Jayasudha). Only to find out that it is Nandini's wedding that he has actually come for. Surprisingly, that does not stop our hero from chasing our heroine and more surprisingly, neither does it stop her from falling for him. Yes, just as you begin to wonder how this could result in a tear-jerker, come the usual twists. Only in this film, it is a rather smooth ending minus the melodrama that you would usually associate with such films.
That MS Raju shows the story from his point of view convincingly is a plus. We have had loads of films in recent times where the hero and heroine in a similar situation move heaven and earth to ensure their love story has a happy ending. However, here we have a more sober hero trying to sacrifice his love for the respect and well-being of their families.
While it is a rather tame ending given today's times, it takes you back in time where sacrifice and honour mattered more than getting your love. But like in all such movies, the film does not end without someone dying. Here too, someone dies, though it is for you to figure out who that is.
The best thing about the movie is the way it has been picturised. Shot extensively in Sakleshpur in Karnataka, one of the places that have the highest rainfall in the country, it is visually beautiful. The rain scenes have been shot beautifully by cinematographer Stanley Joseph. Though the rain has been used to set the tone for the gray mood of the film, thankfully, there are no hysterical sobs and lengthy dialogues.
The dialogues are mostly funny and this keeps the movie from becoming a sad, sob story. Suman, Naresh, Jayasudha and Sita, who play the parents and are just picture perfect for their characters. As for the lead pair, Vinay does his best to play the part of the rich boy turned sacrificing hero. He plays it with conviction and he has a natural ease in front of the camera which makes him watchable. Meera Chopra has nothing much to do apart from making faces. But she looks like the little sister of Sameera Reddy, with a similar pout and hairdo. So that works for her.
Music too is situational and most of the songs go well with the plot. Finding Prabhu Deva and Sunil in one of the songs is a pleasant surprise. Prabhu Deva looks mature and cool doing the little number.
All in all, it is a film that may not suit the sense and sensibilities of the Gen X. The go-getter generation may not be able to empathise with the sacrificing hero. If they do, then it would be another good film for MS Raju, the producer. Nevertheless, we feel it is a commendable effort by MS Raju, the debutant director.
Cast: Vinay, Meera Chopra, Jayasudha, Seeta, Suman, Naresh and others