| After taking the softer route without success in Vedham, where he worked hard at uniting an
estranged couple, Arjun returns to directing the kind of movie that suits his 'Action King' sobriquet. Based on a Telugu super-hit
Narasimha Naidu, that broke all kinds of box-office records in A.P, Ezhumalai is packed with violence,
glamor and sentiments - all ingredients needed for box-office success. But the story itself is an age-old revenge tale that offers nothing
new and so, the proceedings are predictable, most of the time.
Ezhumalai(Arjun) leads a peaceful life as a dance master in the village. Anjali(Gajala) falls in love with him before learning that
he has a son and that his wife Lakshmi(Simran) is dead. She now wishes to marry him but faces competition from Lakshmi's sister
Sandhya(Mumtaz), who also wishes to wed Ezhumalai. Anjali is the daughter of Nagalingam(Ashish Vidyarthi) from a neighboring
village. When she reveals this fact to Ezhumalai, she learns that Ezhumalai and her father are sworn enemies and that it was her father
who had killed Lakshmi.
The initial sequence, with the families in the village sending their sons to form an army that will fight injustice, starts the
movie off on a different note. So it is unfortunate that this portion then has scarcely any importance in the movie. A single scene where
the army of young men fights the goondas is the only instance where this is brought up again. They are nowhere to be seen even when
Ashish Vidyarthi wrecks vengeance on Arjun's family. The rest of the time, we only see Arjun as a one-man army, single-handedly
vanquishing his enemies. Ofcourse, as is expected in an Arjun movie, the stunt sequences are well choreographed and the chase
sequence, where the villains go after the train is well-filmed. Arjun even manages to incorporate the 'double kick' shot from the
Jet-Li starrer The One without making it seem too ridiculous.
Inspite of the presence of three heroines, the romance in the movie is rather muted. The affections of both Gajala and Mumtaz towards
Arjun are one-sided while Arjun and Simran get married without any pre-marital romance. So instead of any nice romances, we get
awkwardly inserted song sequences with lots of glamour. Mumtaz's trick to confuse Arjun is a little funny initially but raises few laughs
since her actions are impractical in our society and appear to go way over the line. But there is an abundance of other sentiments in the
movie though. The entire sequence with Arjun's brother appears quite disjoint and Arjun comes off looking more stupid than
naieve as he never understands his brothers' attitudes towards him.
But the weakpoints of the movie are definitely the old story and the uninspiring screenplay that does nothing to treat the story in
a new manner. Barring the concept of the 'village army', the story does not contain a single original idea. The concept of the hero
living anonymously to hide his violent past has been seen several times before and Arjun fails to introduce anything novel here.
Even cliches which I had thought were dead, like the villain's daughter falling in love with the hero, are brought back to life! From first
frame to last, there is not a single sequence where one cannot predict what is going to happen next. The only moment of real
suspense in the entire movie happens when Ashish Vidyarthi's goons go after Arjun's son, Simran has hidden(in a rather
idiotic manner, I think).
Though the director in him leaves a lot to be desired, Arjun acquits himself creditably as an actor. Simran looks uncharacteristically
pale and disinterested and gets only a single sequence(where she lets go at her husband's brothers) to display the actress in her.
Gajala and Mumtaj compete with each other in providing glamour and Gajala wins the battle on account of her better figure(that
doesnt make all dresses look vulgar). Ashish Vidyarthi, the villain of the day in Kodambakkam, looks threatening but otherwise
does everything required of a routine villain. Manisharma's tunes are catchy but the song sequences are quite unimaginative.