After languishing in the cans for quite a while, Leelai directed by debutant Andrew Vasanth Louis with Shiv Pandit and Manasi Pareikh hit the screens today. The music of Leelai scored by Satish Chakravarthy is already quite popular, the audio having been released long ago.
Leelai is a light hearted simple romantic tale set against the backdrop of IT sector which is about mistaken identities. Although Leelai has hit a long time after it was completed, the ‘timelessness’ of its central theme lends a fresh feel and renders a pleasant experience. After all the theme of emotions and relationships do not have a shelf life.
Credible characters, fairly good screen play, aesthetic visuals, pleasant music and natural performances are the positive components of Leelai. There are patches of slowness but they are not detrimental to the film in a major way.
Andrew has taken a simple theme and has narrated his story in a straight and interesting manner with just four characters. His characters are what we come across in the urban life and in IT sector. City dwellers and an upper middle class populace can relate to the story and setting quite well with simple and straight forward dialogues. Even though the story happens in an urban set up, it is not that the characters break into English every now and then and it is good to see them speak in Thamizh with sprinkling of English only when it is necessary.
Andrew should also be appreciated for eschewing some commercial elements like unnecessary action sequences, cringe-worthy dialogues, and horde of junior artists in song sequences. He has kept his film simple, neat and adhered to the main knot to a large extent.
Shiv Pandit looks debonair, appears quite comfortable in his character and plays it with flair. Manasi Pareikh is going to be the find of the season with her expressive eyes and seductive curls. The girl oozes intelligence and charm that fits her role of an IT professional. She also scores in the performance domain. The dubbing artists have to be lauded as the voices perfectly suit the characters. In the supporting cast, Suhasini (TV fame) as Suja is spontaneous and gets her emotions right. Santhanam delivers what is expected from him and revitalizes the screen whenever he appears.
There are a few scenes where Santhanam’s track looks disjointed although enjoyable. Some of his gags are laughable while some are not. And the scene that derides a transgender should have been avoided. Women bashing dialogues appear to be in vogue these days and Leelai does it in a few places. In the second half, the screen play appears to meander but very quickly comes back in track.
Under Satish Chakravarthy’s music Jillendru Oru Kalavaram has already rocked the charts and Oru Kili number scores in all the departments from lyrics to costumes to picturization to camera work. Good job indeed! Velraj’s visuals are so clean and aesthetic that rightly echoes the urban setting. And costumes by Gayathri need a special mention as they are chic, trendy and suave.
On a toting note, Leelai comes across as a sincere effort of a debutant director who has told his story in a likable format. A decent family flick for the holiday season.
Verdict: Pleasant urban flick sans frills