|HOME | MOVIES | REVIEWS|
|April 28, 2001||
Drums for Dum Dum Dum!
Azhagam Perumal deserves a round of applause.
Not because his debut film -- Dum Dum Dum -- shows signs of much promise.
Not because the film seems to have struck sparks at the box office. Not because the fledgeling director came up with some eminently enjoyable flair.
Not because he showed skill in getting good performances from his stars and support team.
But because he has, despite starting out as assistant to Mani Ratnam, managed to retain his own filmmaking identity and voice.
That is not an easy thing to do, especially when you have learnt the ropes under a stylised director like Mani. But Perumal appears to have managed the tricky balancing act of imbibing the principles of nifty storytelling from his mentor, at the same time retaining his own idiom.
Mani is a 'city' director -- at his best when telling tales set against a metropolitan ambience. Perumal's debut, however, is set against the backdrop of interior Tamil Nadu, and stays true to the milieu he has chosen for his tale.
And that is the most visible sign of Perumal's having stepped out of the Mani Ratnam shadow. There are others more subtle, but equally evident as you watch the Madhavan-Jyotika starrer that shows promise of good legs at the box office.
Storywise, Perumal takes an age-old tale, and gives it a little tweak. The parents of Madhavan and Jyotika decide to unite the two in wedlock. Madhavan, though, is your typical city-slicker -- fast cars, beer, babes. Marriage, he believes, will curtail his 'fun'.
Jyotika, meanwhile, has ranked high in her Plus Two exams and wants to study further.
Bottomline, neither of them is in favour of the marriage. So they put their heads together and plot to get the wedding called off. The best laid plans of mice, men and Madhavan, though, go awry. And with just 12 hours to go, the marriage is as good as a done deal.
On the night before the wedding, the couple get some space and privacy, to chat. And resign themselves to the inevitability of the event.
As so often happens, once you accept a situation, you begin to see its good points -- Madhavan and Jyotika are no exceptions to this rule.
Just when the two are moving from resignation to anticipation, however, a completely unexpected misunderstanding throws the wedding party into an uproar, and puts the fathers of the boy and girl at loggerheads.
The wedding is off -- which is what Madhavan and Jyotika wanted all along, right? Wrong.
But there's nothing they can do about it, so the former goes off to the city and soon after, so does Jyotika, to continue her studies. There, they meet, their friendship burgeons into love... And they live happily ever after -- but how?
That's what the rest of the movie is about.
The film is set in Ambasamudram, with the characters adhering to the Nellai dialect of Tamil and pulling it off quite well. The interesting thing about this setting of the film in down-deep Tamil Nadu is that the milieu comes across clearly. But there is never any attempt to put it in the spotlight.
You don't find the director going hey, look, this is a milieu film, or going overboard on the use of sets and props to underline it. The backdrop is just there, integral to the story but never intruding into it.
Madhavan and Jyotika, the lead pair, are perfectly cast, and perform as per expectations.
The surprise package is Murali, the veteran character actor from Kerala making his Tamil debut in the role of Jyotika's father, and turning in a measured performance.
Mannivannan, Delhi Kumar and other central players are equally assured, making for a film where the cast lives up to the demands of a well-etched script.
The camera is understated (again, in contrast to Mani Ratnam's patented style).
Karthik Raja comes up with a couple of hummable numbers, but it is the background score that is really noteworthy. Interestingly enough, Ilayaraja's eldest son once told me that he enjoys doing background even more than tuning the songs themselves -- and that love for background comes across very clearly in this film.
The real star, though, is director Azhagam Perumal.
Judging by the evidence of Dum Dum Dum has what it takes to come up with a box office bonanza.
Tell us what you think of this review
BROADBAND | TRAVEL
ASTROLOGY | NEWSLINKS | BOOK SHOP | MUSIC SHOP | GIFT SHOP | HOTEL BOOKINGS
AIR/RAIL | WEDDING | ROMANCE | WEATHER | WOMEN | E-CARDS |
HOMEPAGES | FREE MESSENGER | FREE EMAIL | CONTESTS | FEEDBACK