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A colorful hodge-podge of comedy, romance, melodrama and musical montage sequences, “Azhagarsamy’s Horse” is a family-friendly, albeit slightly old-fashioned, mainstream entertainment in the Tamil language. The gentle satire of rural traditions and superstitions, a lively score by prolific composer Illayaraja integrating folk lyricism and Western beats, picturesque landscapes and creation of an unlikely screen hero in short, rotund performer Appukutty rep the most notable aspects of South Indian helmer-scribe Suseendran’s 1980s-set third feature. Making no pretensions to artiness, pic could serve as a curio at further fests.

Hoping to end a three-year drought, the village elders of Mallayapuram decide to reinstate their traditional festival, hoping local god Azhagarsamy will bring rain. When a key religious relic (a wooden horse), goes missing, various soothsayers and troublemakers try to profit from the situation. But a live horse turns up, and village life takes a turn for the better. Then the horse’s owner (Appukutty), who comes from a neighboring village, demands the return of his livelihood, creating a host of comic and bathetic complications. Thesping is broad, lensing and cutting kinetic, f/x cheesy, and the handful of musical numbers (sans dance) melodious.

Azhagarsamy’s Horse

India

  • Production: A Cloud Nine Movie release of an Escape Artist Motion Picture. Produced by Madan Pandy. Directed, written by Suseendran, based on a story by Bhaskar Shakti.
  • Crew: Camera (color), Theni Eashwar; editor, Kasi Viswanathan; music, Illayaraja; production designer, Madan Pandy. Reviewed at Toronto Film Festival (Contemporary World Cinema), Sept. 8, 2011. Running time: 99 MIN.
  • With: With: Appukutty, Sharnya Mohan, Prabhakaran, Advaita. (Tamil dialogue)
  • Music By: