It is another intimately scaled bio-pic, a brave attempt at good cinema. All the drama in the film unfolds from human emotions. Cheran has the guts to move away from the easy comfort of regular Tamil cinema formula and come out with something different. And the actor-director is able to extract top-class performance from all the artists like Raj Kiran, Saranya, Padmapriya and even a rank newcomer like Senthil and Meena.
The sets, location, colour grading, make-up- everything about the production is in perfect sync with the story narration. All this is possible as the writer-director-actor chooses to talk about a world and people whom he knows about first hand. His characters have the look and feel of the Tamil village milieu; the local traditions are all poignantly etched out.
Once again Cheran goes down the memory lane and tries to whip up nostalgia about childhood, parental care and love, coming of age, first love, hardships of life and the determination to come up in life and of course going back to your roots. Though he reworks the Autograph magic with some glitches and hiccups, Cheran does succeed to a very large extent in narrating a story that has some strong message for the parents and children.
The story is all about Muthiah (Raj Kiran) his wife Sarada (Saranya) and their two sons Ramanathan (Senthil) and Ramalingam (Cheran) living in a remote village near Sivaganga in Madurai district. Muthiah owns a printing press in town and though uneducated, his aim in life is to give the best education possible for his sons. He works hard, takes loans, and pledges his belongings to see his dreams come true. Ramanthan joins polytechnic college and Ramalingam at an engineering college.
But Muthiah’s dreams turn sour after Ramanathan gets married to Latha (Meena) who is unable to adjust with the family. Ramalingam too falls in love with Vasanthi (Padmapriya) at college and circumstances forces him to elope with her to Chennai. The rest of the film is how the aged parents try to come to terms with their lonely existence. But Ramalingam comes back to the village after he realizes his mistakes, gets a job, takes them to the city and gives them a good time in the winter of their life!
It is Raj Kiran who dominates the show and his powerful performance is the hallmark of this enterprise. Upright and unbreakable, he presides over the film like a torch whose burning is invisible to other characters but to the viewer. Saranya as Sarada is a life time role for the gifted actress. Cheran carries his role as Ramalingam with consummate ease and he is in terrific form. His character remains etched in your memory even after the film is over. Padmapriya has made an outstanding debut in Tamil while ‘Radio Mirchi’ RJ Senthil and Meena make their presence felt.
Technically, TT has superb camerawork by M.S.Prabhu and Anil Penrickar’s make-up for Raj Kiran and Saranya is first class. The seamlessly creative background score of Sabesh Murali and the melody “Unnai Saranandathen…” written by Thenmozhi is tenderness personified. All songs come in the background which creates the perfect mood for the narrative. On the down side, the film at 3 hours 20 minutes is a little too long and needs some trimming in the second half.
To sum up, it is the kind of cinema that you’d like to watch with your parents, family and don’t forget to carry your handkerchief.
Verdict: Very Good