You will be redirected back to your article in seconds


A "Romeo and Juliet"-style yarn is cranked up to the colorful and violent max in this Tamil blockbuster.

Paruthiveeran - Karthi Muththazhagu - Priyamani Sevvazhai - Saravanan Kazuuvathevar - Ponvannan Kazuuvathevar's wife - Sujatha Mangayee - Panjavarnam Marudhu - Sampath Kumar Kuraththi - Ammulu

A “Romeo and Juliet”-style yarn is cranked up to the colorful and violent max in Tamil blockbuster “Paruthiveeran.” Pic has done boffo biz in Southern India (where the Tamil-lingo industry dominates) but has also captured the imagination of Northern India, which generally favors more commercially slick films. Rough production values are mitigated by a myriad of sophisticated cinematic techniques that show this is no boondocks effort. Fests that appreciate curry flavors will eat this one up, though uninitiated auds could experience culture shock.

In an extended opening-titles sequence that makes the frenzied camera and cutting of “Moulin Rouge” look placid, a revenge stabbing takes place at a town fair in the remote southern Indian village of Paruthiyur. Viewers are immediately warned that they’ll need to hang on tight to keep up with the complicated plot and multiple characters.

A chief participant in the stabbing is titular hero Paruthiveeran (Karthi), a low-caste vagabond. His stated ambition is to spend time in a government jail rather than local lock-ups, which offer only short-term incarceration for each transgression.

Feisty young beauty Muthazhagu (Priyamani) believes Paruthiveeran is the man for her, despite his violent manner, shameless fraternization with hookers and otherwise rambunctious ways. As revealed in a sepia flashback, Muthazhagu would have drowned in a well when she was young if Paruthiveeran hadn’t come to her rescue.

In between their respective families brandishing swords at each other, and (sometimes comically, sometimes violently) squabbling among themselves, Muthazhagu manages to have her name tattooed on Paruthiveeran’s chest while he is comatose from drink. This indelible declaration of love finally helps the hero appreciate her eternal affection, but the warring families respond by going into overdrive.

Yarn is augmented by comedy, colorful dance numbers featuring actual cross-dressing eunuchs, and local musicians. However, the bloody and downbeat final reels will test the endurance of auds who reach the pic’s tragic finale.

Ameer Sultan’s creative helming, which includes split-screen, appears unbridled and sometimes outright chaotic, but always serves the script. Yarn appears to be contempo, but little evidence of modernization creates a timeless, almost mythical atmosphere.

Perfs are consistent with the bombastic storytelling. Newcomer Karthi manages to imbue the initially unlovable hero with surprisingly sympathetic qualities. Lead actress Priyamani charms with her energy, and deservedly won the actress gong at the Cinefan fest. Version caught there was a shorter one prepared for the fest, omitting at least one song from its original reported running time of 185 minutes. Pic also won Best Indian Picture.



Production: A K.E. Gnanavel Raja presentation of a Studio Green production. (International sales: Studio Green, Chennai.) Produced by K.E. Gnanavel Raja. Directed, written by Ameer Sultan.

Crew: Camera (color), Ramji; editor, Raja Mohammed; music, Yuvan Shankar Raja; art director, Jaxon (cq); sound (Dolby Digital), M.R. Gandhi, T.S. Balaji. Reviewed at Cinefan Film Festival, New Delhi (Indian Competition), July 25, 2007. Running time: 133 MIN. (I: 65 MIN.; II: 68 MIN.). (Tamil dialogue)

With: Paruthiveeran - Karthi Muththazhagu - Priyamani Sevvazhai - Saravanan Kazuuvathevar - Ponvannan Kazuuvathevar's wife - Sujatha Mangayee - Panjavarnam Marudhu - Sampath Kumar Kuraththi - Ammulu

More Film

  • Melissa McCarthy as "Lee Israel" and

    WGA Awards 2019: 'Can You Ever Forgive Me?,' 'Eighth Grade' Win Screenplay Awards

    In a pair of upsets, “Can You Ever Forgive Me?” has won the Writers Guild of America’s adapted screenplay award for Nicole Holofcener and Jeff Whitty and Bo Burnham has won the original screenplay award for “Eighth Grade.” “Can You Ever Forgive Me?,” based on the memoir of the late Lee Israel, topped the screenplays [...]

  • Alita Battle Angel

    Box Office: 'Alita: Battle Angel' No Match for China's 'Wandering Earth' Overseas

    Hollywood movies like “Alita: Battle Angel” and “How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World” are doing respectable business overseas, but they’re proving no match for foreign titles at the international box office. The Chinese New Year is bringing in huge business in the Middle Kingdom. China’s sci-fi epic “The Wandering Earth” pulled in a [...]

  • ABA_062_DAU_0060_v0409.87501 – Rosa Salazar stars as

    Box Office: 'Alita: Battle Angel' Wins Dismal President's Day Weekend

    Fox’s sci-fi adventure “Alita: Battle Angel” dominated in North America, but its opening weekend win isn’t leaving the box office with much to celebrate. Tracking services estimate that this will be one of the lowest grossing President’s Day weekends in years. Ticket sales are on pace to be the smallest bounty for the holiday frame [...]

  • Bohemian Rhapsody

    'Bohemian Rhapsody,' 'Marvelous Mrs. Maisel' Among Cinema Audio Society Winners

    Queen biopic “Bohemian Rhapsody” won the Cinema Audio Society’s top prize for sound mixing at Saturday night’s 55th annual CAS Awards. The film is Oscar-nominated for sound mixing this year along with “Black Panther,” “First Man,” “Roma” and “A Star Is Born.” In a surprise over heavy-hitters “Incredibles 2” and “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse,” Wes [...]

  • Oscars Placeholder

    Make-Up and Hair Stylist Guild Applauds Academy's Stance on Airing Every Oscar Winner

    Rowdy boos were followed by triumphant cheers at the Make-Up Artists and Hair Stylists Guild Awards on Saturday in Los Angeles, as the Hollywood union touched on a week of controversy over a reversed decision to hand out four Oscars during the show’s commercial breaks. Hair and makeup was one of the four categories that would [...]

  • Marvelous Mrs Maisel Vice

    'Vice,' 'The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel' Lead Make-Up and Hair Stylists Guild Awards Winners

    Adam McKay’s Dick Cheney biopic “Vice,” starring Oscar nominees Christian Bale, Amy Adams and Sam Rockwell, won two awards at the sixth annual Make-Up and Hair Stylists Guild Awards Saturday night. The film won for best period and/or character makeup as well as special makeup effects. “Mary Queen of Scots” received the prize for period [...]

  • Bette Midler

    Bette Midler to Perform on the Oscars (EXCLUSIVE)

    Bette Midler will perform “The Place Where Lost Things Go” at the Oscar ceremonies on Feb. 24, Variety has learned. Midler, a longtime friend of composer-lyricist Marc Shaiman, will sing the song originally performed by Emily Blunt in “Mary Poppins Returns.” The song, by Shaiman and his lyricist partner Scott Wittman, is one of five [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content