Parthipan plays Shanmugam, a veterinary doctor who grew up in a small
village secretly in love with classmate Dhanalakshmi (Nandita Das). But
when he left the village for college, Dhanalakshmi was married against
her wishes to her brother-in-law (Shivaji Shinde) when her sister died.
Shanmugam married Valarmathi (Devayani) instead, and had a daughter with
Years later, Shivaji Shinde dies, and Dhanalakshmi is forced into hard
labor to support for her son. Shanmugam happens to see her by the road,
and his old feelings resurfacing, takes her home and hires her as a
servant in his own house.
Shanmugam now fights his old feelings as he sees his old lover inside
his house with him.
The storyline is simple and mature. The acting from all corners, whether
it be from Parthipan as the haunted lover, Nandita Das as the luckless
woman, or Devayani as the threatened wife, is superlative. The movie is
a good mature movie.
But it has its faults. The big one is -- too many commercial considerations.
I could've done without a side Vivek comedy track and some songs that
have been tacked on simply for the sake of having them (like the folk
"Kuruvi Kodanja" song). Plus the flashback seems a bit unnecessarily
over-extended, and more like Thankar Bhachan was having an autobiographical
insight than for the sake of the story.
But still, "Azhagi" is still hands-down better than most of the annoyingly
same rehashes we usually get from Tamil cinema. A movie well-worth sititng
down and watching ... and enjoying.
NOTE ON THE MUSIC:
A few good songs provided by Ilayaraja, mainly the wonderful "Oliyilae
Therivathu." That's one of the best songs of the year.
Watch it in the theater if you can find it. If not, video will do just
fine. It's not like the movie is better served by seeing it on the big