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Review by : Behindwoods review board
Starring: : Jai, Nandhagi.
Direction: Meera Kathiravan
Music: Vijay Antony
Production: Moser Baer Entertainment, Blue Ocean Entertainment.
Director Meera Kathiravan apprenticed with one of the finest writers of our times, the late Lohithadas. For the same reason, the Lohithadas stamps are palpable all over Aval Peyar Tamilarasi (APT henceforth) – a tale of love and redemption set in the rural backdrop of Tirunelveli, between a vagrant girl and an affluent guy. Not that we have a dearth of love stories, the treatment of the story stands apart and the mellifluous narration deserves a special mention.

The poetically shot APT unfolds leisurely, at the pace of a slow moving train and you often tend to feel like an unaccompanied passenger in a mid-afternoon train. The feeling is instantly recognizable towards the end of the movie before which the movie has more or less opened out itself making it easy for you to deduce the finale.
  Aval Peyar Tamilarasi

The vagabond singers belonging to the Tholpavai Koothu community visit a village, Kottara Mangalam, in Tirunelveli district. There is a little girl in the group who befriends the wealthy grandchild of the village headman. After their performance, when it’s time for the singing faction to leave, the wealthy grandchild coaxes his granddad to make them stay back. His wish is granted and the family is put up in a house and the girl sent to school. Their (Jai and Nandagi) friendship develops and when they reach their school final years, they are already in love.

Nandagi passes out with good grades while Jai flunks the exams. Incited by his friends’ debauched advices, Jai feels insecure and takes the extreme step. He rapes Nandagi and sets off a series of life-changing incidents. As a result, Nandagi’s mother dies and she is sent to another vagrant family in Maharashtra, now that she cannot continue her studies. Soon enough, Jai repents and embarks on a trip to trace her whereabouts.

The multifaceted Jai shows that he is in the process of grooming himself to become a well-rounded actor. Be it in expressing his warmth and love for Nandagi, his unrelenting anger that is also misguided or his penance and the quest that will probably culminate with his love of life, Jai shows us that he can bring in complex emotions on his face at the drop of a hat. Nandagi is a revelation and her physicality supports the character enormously.

On the flipside, the movie is densely packed with dialogues and the lack of activity tends to slacken the pace resulting in bringing an art-house feel, which is not a bad thing, if the cause of the protagonist’s quest was anything greater than seeking repentance for his offense – brought on him during one of his weaker moments. It happens because we stop caring for him, which again is the strength of the character, the way it’s etched out. Nevertheless, a little more editing could have helped curb the movie’s insipid portions.

Vijay Antony’s background score gets full marks and the Otha Vaartha Sollu number is soulful. P.G. Muthaiah’s camera brings the Tirunelveli region to life and the movie’s feel is greatly enhanced, thanks to the brilliant cinematography.

After scoring with this one, Meera Kathiravan might want to consider a lighter subject in his next venture – and right his vision about women ending up losing their dignity and ending up in brothel-like places (albeit for a shorter period in this one) after they are raped.

Verdict: Full on tearjerker – try if you like serious movies!

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