Vishwathulasi

Poet and lyricist Sumathy Ram's debut, "Vishwathulasi," is a thwarted-love story so stubbornly old-fashioned it feels like an instant antique. Eye-and-ear-candy assault will keep undemanding viewers pleasantly distracted until pic collapses into ludicrous melodrama. Offshore, fests looking for exotic lighter fare might bite.

With:
With: Padmashree Mammootty, Nandita Das, Manoj Kjayan, Mohit, Ambili Devi, Anirudh, Delhi Ganesh.

Tamil-language poet and lyricist Sumathy Ram’s debut as scenarist-helmer, “Vishwathulasi,” is a thwarted-love story so stubbornly old-fashioned it feels like an instant antique. Thin plot is just a vehicle for protags to walk around looking pensive or making goo-goo eyes at each other, clad in vibrant costumes against picturesque backdrops. With an attractive original song score complementing the pretty pictures, eye-and-ear-candy assault will keep undemanding viewers pleasantly distracted until pic collapses into ludicrous melodrama. Offshore, fests looking for exotic lighter fare might bite.

Still-gorgeous Thulasi (Nandita Das) has returned to the village of her youth as a dance instructor. She’s pined all this while for master of the mansion Vishwa (Padmashree Mammootty) — and the feeling is mutual. But 20 years earlier, their love had been torn asunder by a dying father’s demand that Thulasi marry loutish Shiva, who then promptly disappeared. Naturally, just as the duo stops playing coy and admits they’re soul mates, Shiva (Manoj Kjayan) comes home as well, demented and malevolent. His cartoon villainy eventually pushes the oversimplified tale over a cliff that no amount of ornamental value can disguise.

Vishwathulasi

India

Production: A Sindhujaa Films production. Produced by Ramki Ramakrisshnan. Directed, written by Sumathy Ram.

Crew: Camera (color), B. Kannan; editor, Suresh Urs; music, M.S. Viswanathan, Ilayaraaja: production designer, Prabhakar. Reviewed at World Film Festival (World Cinema), Montreal, Sept. 5, 2005. Running time: 114 MIN.

With: With: Padmashree Mammootty, Nandita Das, Manoj Kjayan, Mohit, Ambili Devi, Anirudh, Delhi Ganesh.

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