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Naan Avan Illai II

[TOI, Monday, 30 November 2009 10:56 No Comment]

The conman is back. If the earlier ‘Naan Avan Illai’(2007) banked on edgy court arguments to keep you hooked, this time director Selvaa has gone for glitz and gloss in the sequel.

Film: Naan Avan Illai II

Cast: Jeevan, Sangeetha, Lakshmi Rai, Rachna Maurya and Shruti

Direction: Selvaa

For good measure the sequel he has also banked on some fine lines from Pattukottai Prabhakar and a hilarious exploitation of Vaali’s famous lyrics. And it works.

The film begins with the final portions of the first version, which in itself was a remake of K Balachnder’s original ‘Naan Avan Illai.’ And it’s a quick recap. Annamalai (Jeevan) expertly argues his case of duping five women into marriage and the law has no option but to let him go. Another victim knifes him as he exits, but he cheats death and shifts base to Europe. And his duplicity continues, with his man Friday Mayilsamy in tow.

As in part I, here too it is a photograph of his published in the media which ups the ante of Deepa (Lakshmi Rai) an actor, and other women. The only one who appears to know his whereabouts is Maria, a gun-slinger turned spiritualist, thanks to ‘God’ as she refers to Annamalai, who now goes by aliases such as Mahesh, Arvind and Bharat among others.

However, in an interesting variation from the original, where the entire conning game unfolded through the eyes of the victims, here, Jeevan himself hits the rewind button in one specific case, that of Maha, the Sri Lankan Tamil played by Sangeetha. Moved by her plight—she loses her husband while they volunteer to help in war torn Lanka, develops a stammer and a limp, and is fighting her father-in-law in court for the custody of her daughter—Jeevan loots from Deepa to help her. The director may end milking sentiments by bucket loads here, since the rest of the treatment is fairly one big tribute to a smooth talking, quick-witted bloke.

His schemes are so clearly larger than life, that the audience cannot help but explode in sheer amazement at the lines pulled. Like the time Mayilsami tells Rai, "Whenever he is upset, he will go for four spins in the helicopter, or the brilliant use of songs such as ‘Koduthathellam koduthan’, ‘Naanamo’ or that wonderfully seductive number, ‘Kadhodu than naan paaduven’.

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