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Movie : Kalyana Raman

Movie : Kalyana Raman
Starring : Kamal Hassan(DualRole), Sri Devi, VK Ramasamy, Major Sundarajan, Tengai Seenivasan, VS Raghavan, Senthamarai, Pushpalatha, Manorama, Master Japan Kuppu
Music : Ilaiyaraja
Direction : G.N.Rangarajan
Year : 1979

Kalyanaraman is a ghost story but not a horror movie. The setup is similar to most horror movies.The hero is killed by some of the same people he trusts and he returns as a ghost to take revenge on them.But he doesn’t indulge in any of the typical ghostly activities like scaring them by moving things around or making weird noises. Instead, He enlists the help of his brother, who then goes about making the villainsconfess.

Buck-toothed Kalyanam(Kamalhassan) is the heir to a whole lot of wealth. He is innocent about the ways of theworld and loves Shenbagam(Sridevi) but his father refuses to accept her since she is poor. Kalyanam whiles awayhis time with Shenbagam and a young boy Kuppu(’Japan’ Kuppu). The manager of the house(’Major’ Sunderrajan), the cook(V.K.Ramaswamy) and the driver(Senthamarai) plot to kill Kalyanam’s father. But when he is on his deathbed, he tells Kalyanam about his brother Raman(Kamalhassan), living in the city with their mother. When Kalyanam comes across their nefarious activities, the villains kill him by rolling him of the cliff. Shenbagam and Kuppu arewitnesses to this act but Shenbagam becomes mad while the villains cut off Kuppu’s tongue. Kalyanam becomes a ghost and travels to Madras, and returns with his brother’s to take revenge.

Kamalhassan’s performance as Kalyanam is the heart of the movie. Be it shyly confiding to his father about hisliking for Sridevi or innocently expressing his love for her, he is delightful. His facial expressions, like when he sulks, are a joy to watch. He also reveals his innocence when asking Sridevi to marry him within a fewdays of his father dying and the explanation he offers for it is simple but funny. The character really grows on us and the scene where he begs the villains to spare his life is very touching.

Compared to him, Raman is barely interesting. He comes into his own only during the climax. The climax is definitely a highpoint of the movie. With Kamal gaining superhuman powers, the scenes where he bashes the bad guys and brushes off their blows like he hardly feels them, all in slow motion, are very thrilling.But the distinction between the two roles is brought out beautifully by Kamal, especially in the scenes wherethey interact with each other.

Having been exposed to the capabilities of computer graphics and special effects in present day movies(like thedouble role in Jeans), the lack of technological advancement is painfully evident here. The scenes with the two Kamalhassans are poorlyexecuted, with the dividing line and the distinctly different coloring on either side of the line beingclearly evident. Same goes for the effects of the ghost. Even though this is used for only a short time (withthe ghost appearing as human to his brother’s eyes at other times), the poor effects are rather glaring. While they don’t detract from the entertainment value of the movie, they are still noticeable.

Sridevi shows good chemistry with Kamalhassan, though her character is rather poorly defined in the first halfwith her exact feelings towards Kalyanam never being clear.V.K.Ramaswamy proves he can be good in both villainy and comedy in the same movie. ‘Thengai’ Srinivasan andManorama are a couple of stage performers who pose as Kalyanam and his mother. Their initial scenes on stageextend far too long but their antics after they enter the house are fun. The rest of the villainsare stereotypical. Ilaiyaraja provides the catchy and enormously popular Kaadhal Vandhirichu…with the lyrics being extremely funny. The second version of the song is quite melodious.




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