Two lovers are caught between the battle of ideologies, the good and the bad. The lovers are Thomas(Gautham Karthik), an orphan early in his childhood after his mother's death who is never accepted by his dad and Beatrice(Thulasi) who is a nurse working in a convent. The battle of ideologies is between Father Sam(Arvind Swamy) and Bergmans(Arjun). Incidentally, both were studying for priesthood but beliefs and events drove them apart.
When Mani Ratnam tells the love story from the viewpoint of Thomas, it results in picture perfect frames thanks to the photography by Rajiv Menon with interesting sequences. Unfortunately, the movie fails as a whole because of the lack of seamless transition or integration between the conflict of the elders and the love story. Because of this, the parallel tracks are sometimes tiring as there is no real closure or suspense when the narrative changes to the other track. Like with all Mani Ratnam movies, the photography, the sets and the music (by AR Rahman) plays a major role in this one too. The beach, the fishing village and the church is where most of the movie is told. All the three reminds you of paintings. The scenes where Thomas learns the tricks of fishing is shot in such a way so as to take the breath out of you. The background score makes the conflict edgier.
Of the performances, it is Arvind Swamy as Father Sam who stands out. He has to play different phases, one where he finds peace in religion, the one he converts the local community with patience and finally of not losing the faith even when he is attacked from all fronts with no support. Arvind Swamy underplays all the phases sometimes with only knowing smiles deflecting the criticism, sometimes with confusion inline with the character and sometimes with anger. Gautham Karthik is good although the role isn't difficult. He excels in scenes where anger and frustration of Thomas comes to the forefront. Thulasi as Beatrice has the most difficult role. She is oblivious of her surroundings and has to show her childlike enthusiasm. She does not have a lengthier role. If she had a lengthy role, her act would have fallen flat. Arjun disappoints as Bergmans. It is a one-dimensional character oozing evil. Unfortunately, he is not able to rise above the script to impress.
This movie will be remembered only for the performances, the photography and the music. The movie tries to follow the middle path as a piece of art and an entertainer which turns out to be the biggest flaw. If you are a Mani Ratnam fan, there is no way I can stop you from seeing this movie. For the others, wait for the DVD.
Tags: Movies,mani+ratnam,Arvind Swamy,Arjun,Gautham Karthik,Thulasi,Rajiv Menon,AR Rahman,Drama