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"Kaasi" ... sensitive portrayals from Kaveri, Vikram and Kavya Madhavan.

SURELY THEY are a gutsy lot — producer Aromamani, director Vinayan and hero Vikram. When the entire Tamil industry is spinning yarns with only love as its fulcrum, (as if there is nothing else to life) few films dare to deviate from the norm — Sunitha Productions' ``Kaasi'' is one such.

A film without predictable ingredients is a rarity. The "Kaasi" team has to be appreciated for its boldness, in telling a story, in a simple, straight forward manner without the evitable distractions.

Kaasi (Vikram) is a blind young man who makes a living by composing and singing his songs at village fairs.

The family, comprising a wastrel of a brother Sevalai (`Thalaivasal' Vijay), a bedridden but acid-tongued father (Vinu Chakravarthy), a sympathetic mother, a sprightly sister (Kavya Madhavan) not to forget another married sister, is dependent on Kaasi. Kaveri is a mute girl and she and Kaasi are in love with each other.

The fate that befalls the younger sister and its aftermath that results in an unexpected climax, make you sit up.

The story may have come through the Malayalam channel, but does it have to be steeped in so much melodrama? A woman from the old school of thought howling away her misery, like Vadivukkarasi does, is understandable, but Kaasi crying so much, especially for his father's constant barbs, is rather irritating. Kaveri goes shopping for the wedding with no worry at all, knowing very well that her friend had been summoned to the villain's den yet again! A blatant flaw that you would not expect in a film like ``Kaasi''.

Vikram's portrayal is without blemish (if you can pardon his tears that flow once too often). As a blind man, with his eyeballs completely in and with facial twitches so typical of the visually impaired, his portrait is realistic.

Vinayan, who has written the story and screenplay too, has tapped Vikram's potential well.

New face Kavya Madhavan and Kaveri, have excellently expressive eyes, which have been put to good use. Kudos to the two.

After ``Pandavar Bhoomi'' this is another role where Vinu Chakravarthy makes a mark. Rajiv as the suave, sophisticated and scheming villain, Raghupathy, steals the show in many a scene.

The pleasing village scenario has been aesthetically captured by Sukumar.

The magic touch, in the music of the maestro (Ilaiyaraja) is missing in ``Kaasi''. It is an out and out Hariharan mela — all the six songs have been sung by him

A neat film, that sags at times because melodrama is its marring factor.


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