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Movie Review: Punnagai Desam (2002) Back to Movie
Rate movie A movie review by Balaji Balasubramaniam
Fans Rating: 78%%78%% 78% (56 votes)
Movie Still It has become common for assistant directors to make their debuts with movies that recycle successful formulae employed by their mentors before. Director Vikraman's touch was very apparent in his assistant Lingusamy's Aanandham, which successfully followed the Vaanathai Pola formula. Punnagai Desam finds another assistant of Vikraman taking up the directorial baton for the first time and he too has looked to an earlier Vikraman film for inspiration. This time its Pudhu Vasantham and like its predecessor, Punnagai Desam too is a simplistic, unrealistic but feel-good movie focussing on friendship.

Raja(Kunal), Selvam(Hamsavardhan) and Vijay(Dhamu) are three friends harboring different ambitions of succeeding in life. Raja is an aspiring singer; Selvam wants to be a collector while Vijay hopes to make his name as a mimickry artist. Finding no support from their parents, they move to Madras and struggle to find a break. An old friend Ganesh(Tarun) has come to the city with hopes of marrying his uncle's daughter(Sneha) but the uncle, now a rich man, dashes his hopes. He moves in with the three friends and putting aside his own dreams, helps them achieve theirs.

The director makes no attempts to avoid the impression that his movie is a Pudhu Vasantham clone. One of the friends being an aspiring singer, their spartan residence atop another house and the harsh house owner(who later has a change of heart) are all aspects that bring back memories of Vikraman's debut. There are also scenes that remind us of a couple of other Vikraman hits, most notable Unnidathil Ennai Koduthen. But inspite of this familiarity, the basic good-naturedness of the movie helps carry it through. The importance assigned to friendship, the goodheartedness of the four friends and the relative ease with which they find success all make it obvious that the director's only objective was to craft a feel-good film and in that he has succeeded.

Inspite of the basic sad nature of most of the movie(the three friends are scolded by their parents while Tarun is insulted by his uncle and the foursome struggle to make a living in the city), there is a vein of humor running throughout which makes the proceedings enjoyable. Dhamu has almost a complete hold over the comedy in the movie and makes full use of the opportunity. Though most of his mimickry seems physically impossible to execute, the results are some genuine laughs. It is the humor that makes the initial scenes enjoyable. Ofcourse it also dilutes the seriousness of their struggles to succeed.

The movie spends most of the time portraying Tarun's struggles to help his friends and as a result, the final portions seem rushed. The mode of success of the three friends is extremely simplistic. For instance, Hamsavardhan is sent to Calcutta for some sort of training and comes back a collector! The way Kunal succeeds as a singer too has been seen in countless other movies but the director manages to score some points by finding a nice way to include Dhamu in the proceedings. His path to fame and fortune is quite clever since mimickry not being an easy career to portray success in. The climax also introduces a needless twist before ending in an expected manner.

Tarun, last seen in Tamil as the elder brother of Anjali, makes a nice debut with his sincerity coming through well. He doesn't overdo the sentimental scenes either. Kunal's face, on the other hand, seems to go into contortions for even the simplest of emotions. Hamsavardhan recovers nicely from Maanaseega Kaadhal with a decent performance. Sneha and Preetha have rather small roles without even a duet for either of them. Malaysia Vasudevan makes an impression with his role. SuperGood Films' regular music director S.A.Rajkumar as usual comes up with songs that sound similar but are pleasing to the ears.

Rate movie A movie review by Balaji Balasubramaniam