A strong and so far unexplored theme about sibling rivalry and superb acting by the starcast has made `Uyirile Kalanthathu` a powerful film. But the unwarranted twist in the end has somewhat reduced the impact.
It is common in many families that with the arrival of the second offspring the elder one, though not deliberately, is relegated to the background to fend for himself by the parents. This very often leads to trauma and a complex psyche ending up in disaster as seen in this film.
The opening setting is a mental hospital. A profusely bleeding patient who has a habit of banging his head against the wall and writng various names in his blood is being wheeled in. The story now unfolds through flashback.
Raghu (Raghuvaran), is the apple of his parents` - Meenakshi & Asst.Commissioner of Police Sethuvinayakam (Radhika &Shivakumar) - eyes and centre of attention, till after 10 years his younger brother Surya (Surya) is born. Raghu starts resenting the latter`s arrival who he thinks is hogging his parents` attention completely. The resentment persists strongly even after they grow up and Raghu`s soul becomes a cesspool of conflicting emotions. On one side he loves Surya and gifts him a Maruthi car and takes the initiative to get Surya united to his girlfriend Priya (Jyothika), but at the same time innocent actions of his parents make his mind more knotted.
There is a darker side to Raghu`s psyche which plots and plans against Surya. He gets the youngster bashed up by goondas and gets vicarious pleasure by watching the video clippings of the horrible events. Surya is only a weapon, Raghu`s actual target is his parents whom he wants to hurt because he thinks they do not care for him any more.
Finally the seething volcano in Raghu`s disgruntled mind erupts. He kills Surya by pushing him down a precipice.
No one suspects Raghu till he unwittingly gives himself away. He is arrested by his own father on the day of the old man`s retirement. There is an intresting court room scene where Raghu pours out all the bitterness that has been festering in his soul from the day his brother was born. Radhika steals the thunder from everybody in this scene by her highly impressive emoting.
The story has high psychological potential but with the added twist at the end it peters off into uninspiring melodrama.
Veterans Shivakumar and Radhika with their controlled acting score over everyone else. Raghuvaran gives vent to the tempest raging in his disturbed soul without resorting to hysterical outbursts. Surya with his soft expressions and winsome ways shines. He is good in the fight scenes too. Jyothika should replenish fast her dwindling stock of expressions.
It is a welcome change that Priya`s brother Shiva, the local Dada, is shown as a person sensitive to his sister`s feelings. But it is illogical that he incites her to avenge the murder of her fiance instead of doing the deed himself.
The director has been able to keep the audience interest live by keeping the identity of the patient a secret till the end. Deva`s music does not offer anything extraordinary, but the lullaby song and the `Devadeva...` number are worth humming. Camerawork is average.