'Podaa Podi' (Tamil)
Director: Vignesh Shivan
Cast: Simbu, Varu, Shobana and others
Directed by debutant Vignesh Shivan, Podaa Podi centers on a couple who go through various phases of their relationship to finally discover each others’ love.
Set in London, it is breezy, youthful and targets the young urbane crowd. The director has attempted to move away from the routine celluloid romances, in both his scripting and presentation.
The film marks the debut of yet another star kid Varalakshmi (Varu), daughter of actor Sarath Kumar. A trained artiste, she fits in aptly as Nisha, a dancer, who aspires to win a coveted dance competition.
It’s a role that requires her to go through an amalgam of emotions. And, Varu does it with confidence. Her spontaneous expressions and uninhibited body language are a treat to watch. Simbu as Arjun is in his usual energetic self and the duo share a pleasant chemistry.
The actors breathe life into the script when the pace slackens. Arjun depicts each stage of his relationship with Nisha in separate segments. With an interesting and humorous touch, the director has chosen to label each of the segments. The roller coaster ride in the life of the couple, as they go through phases of instant attraction, love, ego problems, misunderstandings, break-up, marriage and parenthood is depicted in well-defined segments. How the duo evolves in their relationship, resolves their issues and discovers each other forms the rest.
The first half moves at an interesting pace; the freshness of the pairing and their whacky antics keeping you engaged. However, it’s in the second half that the screenplay meanders. Arjun suddenly does a volte-face and adopts a male chauvinistic attitude. Resenting Nisha’s outgoing behaviour and her closeness to her male partner during dance practices, he berates her for it. These scenes and his sudden lectures on Tamil culture and traditional values sound unconvincing. Shobana plays Nisha’s dance trainer, in a role that loosely hinges on the sidelines.
The dialogues have a natural flow and the dance numbers are peppy. It’s a ridiculous climax, where the couple dance to a kuthu paattu in the competition and floor the judges. It seems more an attempt to please Simbu’s fans than a dance suited for competitions.