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|July 3, 2000||
Vasanth disappoints with Appu
The last time I met Vasanth was on the sets of Rhythm. And, after watching him, I came away with the feeling that this man was the ultimate perfectionist -- nothing was too small to capture his attention, nothing so trivial that he wouldn't fine tune.
The other day, I saw Appu -- Vasanth's latest directorial venture. And the first thought I had was, no way, the man I met couldn't have made this film.
It is not as though there were glaring deficiencies in this remake of the Sanjay Dutt-starrer Sadak -- the disappointment comes from the fact that the Tamil remake, with Prashant and Devyani in the lead, simply fails to grip. You expect more -- much more -- from the man who made Keladi Kanmani, Nee Paadhi Naan Paadhi, Nerukku Ner, Aasai and Poovellaam Kettupaar.
The story itself is simply told. A young man, taxi driver by profession, has a chance encounter with this sweet young thing. Later, he encounters said SYT in a brothel and is determined to save her, irrespective of what it costs, or takes. Fuelling his angst is the recurring memory of his sister, who was forced into prostitution but opts for suicide as the preferred escape. Events, thus, lead to the inevitable blood-soaked ending.
Why a remake? Vasanth's forte is strong, original storytelling -- why then would he want to do an almost frame-to-frame remake of the Mahesh Bhatt original?
And why Prashant? Of the three young heroes at the top of the Tamil film tree today, Prashanth is the one who fits into the chocolate box slot. His knowledge of karate notwithstanding, he doesn't come across as the macho, two-fisted hero the film demands.
In fact, there are only two areas about the film that merit mention. The first is music -- always something to look forward to in Vasanth films. And the other is Prakash Rai, who brings his own flair to the role of the eunuch brothel-keeper played in the original by Sadashiv Amrapurkar. Rai appears to find in Vasanth a catalyst that always brings out the best in him -- he had, earlier, turned in a chilling performance in Aasai, the film Vasanth made for the Mani Rathnam banner.
Somehow, when you get done watching this film, what you are left with is a question in your mind. It is no secret that Vasanth is an ardent
Appu is made under KB's Kavithalaya banner -- and, while it was on the floors, there was talk of misunderstandings between Vasanth and his mentor.
You watch this film and you wonder -- what were those misunderstandings about? And were they, in some way, responsible for the lacklustre film Vasanth finally turned out?
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