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Parvathy, Srikanth
SS Kumaran
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What strikes you most after watching Poo is the simplicity of the story with characters and their motivations intricately etched out by the director. It is a portrait of life in a small village and an honest exploration of human emotions. With Poo, director Sasi proves that a simple plot with interesting characters is all it takes to engage an audience. It is a placid film which is not plot-driven but centred on the emotional journey of its characters.

The film belongs to debutant Parvathy, she holds the film together and is mesmeric. Sasi's script is an adaptation of writer Tamil Chelvan's short story Veyilodu Poy. He succeeds largely because he has been more or less faithful to the original, other than using cinematic liberties like songs.

The story is set in a village somewhere between Rajapalayam and Sivakasi in south Tamilnadu. It is all about the selfless deep love and admiration that Mari (Parvathy) develops for her cousin Thankaras (Srikanth) from childhood. Mari is a bold village girl whose world revolves around her beloved Thankaras .While at school, she does not hesitate to tell her teacher who questions all kids on what their ambition in life is, and that for her, it is to "be the wife of Thankaras"!

Her best friend and conscience keeper is Cheeni (Inbanila), a practical girl who works with her at the fireworks factory. She urges Mari to express her love for Thankaras who is now an Engineer, thanks to the hard work of his father Penakaran (Ramu) a bullock cart driver. The trouble with Mari and her dilemma is that she is obsessed by her cousin and goes great lengths to get across to him but is unable to express her deep love for him. Her inability to open her heart out at the same time hopelessly in love with him leads inevitably to an emotional turbulence.

The humour in the film is not slapstick nor a separate comedy track, but part of the narration. The best examples are the scenes showing why Srikanth’s father decides to buy him a cell phone, the tea-shop owner who is fed up of people in the village who wants to drink tea on credit and the foreman at the cracker factory.

The high point of the film is its characterizations and performances. Much of Sasi's creativity lies in his casting, which is perfect. Parvathy has lived in the role of Mari and takes your breath away as she effortlessly delivers such a difficult role so convincingly on her debut in Tamil. She is consistently credible and lifelike and absolutely riveting.

Srikanth does not have a lengthy role but as Thankaras, silent and dependable he is first class. All the supporting cast are extraordinary like Inbanila who plays Mari's best friend, she invests such sincerity into her role that makes the character a real flesh and blood person by underplaying and subtlety. Ramu the guy who plays Srikanth's father in the film is credible and looks real. The entire supporting cast (all are first-timers) is top class.

Technically, the film is a treat with breathtaking cinematography and correct use of colours (without any DI) by P.G Muthiah in some fresh village locations. S.S Kumaran's music has a refreshing tinge to it, his background score is terrific. On the downside the film could have easily done with fewer songs, which at times is distracting.

But on the whole the movie is a beautiful, complete, moving experience with a nice message. It is a simple love story, a bittersweet tale of human frailties, a small film with a very big heart. Well acted and directed, the film is watchable as gems like these are hard to find these days.

. Verdict: Very Good


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