Critic's Rating: 17/5
Friday 14 February 2003
Saritha,Jayaram, Ramya Kishnan
Balu Mahendra has kept the flag of sensible cinema within the commercial format once again in his latest offering Julie Ganapathy. The film is dark, deadly, daring and is the best thriller to come along in years. No two ways about it, Balu consolidates his reputation as one of the finest directors in Tamil cinema.
Undoubtedly a director who has given us such a wide array of stylish films like Azhiyatha Kolangal, Moonram Pirai, Marupadiyum and Yathra is a super slick craftsman blessed with an intuitive script sense. The movie is adapted from Stephen King?s Misery and has been Tamilised so well that it looks superior to its source material! Though a note of caution, the film is not for faint hearted and the squeamish. Throughout the accent is on the grisly and grotesque.
Watching Julie Ganapathy you feel a creepy clamming sense of dread which posses you. A Tamil Television writer Tenkasi Balamurugan ((Jayaram) is successful in writing soaps that grip the imagination of the viewers, especially that of the ladies! He is happily married to Vijaya (Ramya Krishnan) and has a daughter. Balu is sentimental like any other writer about the place and the way he writes his script. So he sets off to Ooty to finish the last 10 episodes of his most successful serial ?Manga? on TV. He promises to come back for his daughter?s birthday but does not return, and he is missing.
Julie Ganapathy (Saritha) is a military nurse who lives in a big bungalow in the outskirts of Ooty. Julie is an avid ?Mangai? watcher, as she even postpones her trip to US to see the climax of the serial. She is an obsessive fan of Balu and when his car meets with an accident on his way back from Ooty, she rescues him and treats him in her house with the bare minimum facilities. Initially Balu finds her to be strange, but slowly he finds himself to be a prisoner in the hands of Julie who is also neurotic and a psychopath. Now with his broken legs, he tries to escape but Julie is too smart for him as she drugs him and turns violent at times. He is forced to write a new climax for ?Mangai? as per her command if he has to stay alive!
Make no mistake, the fat, forty plus Saritha as Julie, the cunning and spooky neurotic, dominates the film with her first class performance. Jayaram as Balu is superb as the helpless writer at the mercy of a dangerous woman. Hats off to make-up man Dorai for lending that natural look to the broken legs and wounds. Ramya has nothing much to do, but like good wine gets better day by day with another sexy dance number. Ilayaraja?s music and re-recording are top class adding to the haunting eerie atmosphere. Another highlight of the film is that the director has not used any artificial lights, which has made the atmosphere scarier.
It is recommended and a must-see for those who love thrillers.