The simple story of a troubled young man’s trials n tribulations in seeking a life partner is copybook Cheran. He has not directed or produced this ode to old-fashioned romance but he remains the centrepiece for sure.
The movie didn’t do well at the box office though it was billed to be a family entertainer. Possibly it failed to appeal to the youth segment who found Cheran’s treacly-sweet avatar a big put-off. And the music & comic tracks failed to charm the audience as well.
Cheran had found the rare balance of making drama movies without being melodramatic. That’s a telling achievement given the propensity we have for melodrama in Tamil films. His style worked like magic in movies like Autograph, Pandavar Bhoomi and Vetri Kodi Kattu. But he stretches the formula way too far in ‘Raman Thediya Seethai’ and sadly today’s audience is not likely to be as appreciative and patient as in the days of yore.
Imagine a successful businessman approaching an unknown girl in a traditional setting and pouring his heart out about the traumas of his teenage years. He further wants to vindicate wearing his heart on the sleeve by flashing a medical certificate from a psychiatrist to attest that he is ‘normal’ now. And then he is surprised when the sweet and demure girl (Vimala Raman) turns him down ever so gently …
He perseveres with his quest but the next alliance falls as the girl (Remya Nambeesan) elopes with her boyfriend. Cheran is kind-hearted enough to take the blame on himself and commiserate with the girl’s father (Manivannan). The optics of the situation can exasperate the most ardent of Cheran’s fans but he simply plods along with Karunas and Manivannan in tow. Sadly the two get no opportunity to display their trademark comic humour and sardonicism respectively. No wonder the ship found little wind to propel it in troubled waters.
But Cheran is a good storyteller and he introduces Pashupathy as a blind RJ who is courted by a beautiful young girl. We are reminded of shades of Kamal in Raja Paarvai but this cameo too has its blemishes. An unnecessary fight sequence weakens its credibility but Pashupathy’s rare take as a positive character instead of playing the traditional villain keeps us going.
Cheran now meets Karthika and they seem to hit it off. They decide to be friends and explore the relationship further. However Cheran introduce a quirky back story wherein a petty thief (Nithin Sathya) was reformed by his unrequited love for Karthika. Cheran manages to convince Karthika to give Nithin Sathya a chance. For once he clicks the right note when love trumps convention and it doesn’t seem to be sappy or corny.
Cheran is back to burnishing his credentials as a ‘too-good-to-be-true’ Samaritan – Remya is pregnant and abandoned by her husband who is in jail. Her vale of woes moves Cheran who decides to take care of her and promises not to tell Manivannan about it as he would be riled by the situation. Coincidentally he meets Vimala again who gets to see his good nature and now falls for him.
But Cheran is in town to pursue yet another surprise last-minute offer of an alliance – Navya Nair who happens to be a cop. There was such scope for humor in creating a love triangle but Cheran resorts to the TV serial soaps like antics and we can again expect bucketfuls of tears. Eventually he gets beaten up by Navya in a police crackdown but once again it has tragic overtones and isn’t really comic.
By now we seem to be past caring on what would happen to Cheran when he uses a conventional climax device to unite the hero with the original girl (Vimala). One could see it coming from a mile since there was a cute dream song just before his last fiasco.
So there you have it – a clean family entertainer, no violence, no real villains so to say, lovely locations and even some good dialogues (for example Cheran wryly mentions to Vimala that no girl has changed her reply ever since she first rejected him). Cheran’s audience will love such glimpses of screenplay but overall the movie is a bit of dated format of storytelling. It fails to appeal to the multiplex audience and possibly that accounted for its sad story at the box-office. Still worth a watch on the cable is you like Cheran’s films.