Film : Pani Vizhum Malarvanam
Director : P James David
Cast : Abhilash, Sanya Tara, Varsha Ashwati, Master Sai Vishal, Jawahar
With the forest as the backdrop, debutant director James David weaves a plot that is different and fairly engaging. He creates an ambience, where a couple of lovers lose themselves in a jungle, with predators, both human and animals, on the prowl. The director gives his take on the value of relationships, family bonding, true love, motherhood and wildlife conservation, without sounding too moralistic. The handling of a tiger that shares equal screen space with humans, and the splendidly choreographed encounter with it in the climax, are the film’s highlights.
The early scenes move briskly, as Tarun and Kavya (Abhilash and Sanya) strike a friendship through the net, meet and become lovers. With mounting parental opposition, the duo decides to elope. The scene shifts to Meghamalai Hills near Theni, where the narration takes the form of a thriller.
The movements of a man eating tiger, it’s magnificent glory, and the tense situation are all captured splendidly by the camera (Ragav). The graphics and the real shots of the tiger (a trained tiger from the film Hangover) are skillfully blended. With such realistic depictions, a few scenes seem straight out of the National Geographic Channel. There is a measure of humour when the forest guards come for the rescue act. There seems to be a weak link in the narration, probably to pave way for Malar’s heroic act later.
Well fleshed out and enacted by Varsha is the character of Malar, who turns protector to the lovers. It’s appreciable that the director has not resorted to stereotypes here.
Working in a cardamom plantation and struggling to save money for the operation of her little son Viju (Master Sai), Malar is literate, sensible and feisty.
As Tarun, Abhilash performs with effortless ease. Sanya Tara fits in smoothly as Kavya. The director pays his tribute to motherhood, a quite suddenly, depicting how both humans and animals safeguard and protect their little ones.
The turn to the character of the lecherous poacher, a potential villain of the piece, is appreciable. It’s commendable that David has focused on his plot and avoided the usual commercial elements.
The narration may seem a tad loosely etched and jumpy at times and has its glitches. But it’s a debutant director’s sincere effort to move away from the beaten path and is refreshingly different.