3

I’m a big Dhanush fan and since Shruti Haasan had impressed me in her last Telugu film, I was excited with the prospect of seeing them together in 3. In addition I wanted to see how Aishwarya Dhanush would approach her first film considering she had worked with one of my favourite directors, Dhanush’s brother Selvaraghavan on Aayirathil Oruvan a few years ago. The hype surrounding 3 since Kolaveri Di became such a hit seems likely to have been the reason that this was the fourth Tamil film to be shown here in Melbourne with subtitles and I really do hope that this trend continues. So it was with high expectations that I headed in to watch 3 and while the film as a whole didn’t quite meet them, the first half surpassed them easily.

3 follows the lives of Ram and Janani who first meet while they are both at school and relates their romance through three stages of their life together. The two leads somewhat surprisingly don’t look too out of place in school uniforms and certainly with their attitudes and mannerisms they are convincing as high school students. But the real star of this part of the story is Siva Karthikeyan as Ram’s friend Kumaran.  The interactions between the two friends are very natural and the dialogues between the two as Kumaran deals with Ram’s sudden infatuation are snappy and very funny. They had the whole cinema in stitches and it was fantastic to be able to understand and laugh along with the audience for a change.

The love story progresses with the usual hurdles in the form of parents and familial expectation. Janani’s family are preparing to move to the USA and she has to deal with the prospect of leaving Ram just as she has realised her feelings for him.  Shruti Haasan excels here as the young girl infatuated with her lover but struggling to conform to her family’s wishes and she finally makes a decision in spectacular style. The young actor playing her sister is also very impressive and overall the romance is beautifully developed. Shruti and Dhanush have great chemistry together onscreen and their relationship progresses very naturally. The interactions between Ram and his father (Prabhu) were also very genuine and well written with plenty of humour and a real sense of the sincere relationship between father and son.

However the promise of the first half doesn’t carry through to the rest of the film. I can appreciate that Aishwarya wanted to show a total contrast in the second half but it gets carried to extremes and the screenplay starts to drag as the melodrama goes into overdrive. The film starts with a dead body and Janani in mourning before moving into flashback mode, so we all know that there isn’t going to be a happy ending – well this is a Tamil movie after all, but the story just doesn’t make sense.

Janini spends most of the second half crying and Shruti Haasan is not an actor who can cry prettily, so the excessive amounts of sobbing become wearing very quickly. The assured and determined young woman of the first half totally disappears and while it is likely a much more realistic reaction it doesn’t make for such interesting watching. Kumaran has also vanished from the story and Senthil takes over as the concerned friend trying to help. While Sunder Ramu puts in a good performance his character is generally less convincing as most of his actions aren’t consistent with the family relationships shown in the first half. Dhanush puts in another amazing performance but it’s a role he has done shades of before in Mayakkam Enna and Kadhal Kondein so while impressive, it does feel a little overdone in the last scene. The general idea of the twist in the story is good but it seems let down by the over the top screenplay and some very dodgy medicine and ethics.

What does work well is the music. Anirudh Ravichander’s background score fits the screenplay very well and the songs are well placed within framework of the film. Kolaveri Di is certainly not as expected and although there are a few odd moments, specifically with a blonde tourist, it generally succeeds and adds a bright moment to the otherwise very heavy second half.

The first half of 3 is a delight to watch and for that reason alone I think it is worth seeing in the cinema. The support cast are all excellent and while Shruti Haasan does overact later on, Dhanush is as impressive as ever with a very convincing performance. The film is let down by an unconvincing and over dramatic second half but there is still much to enjoy. As a friend remarked on twitter, if only the second half had matched the first this would have been a perfect film. It’s still good, and an impressive debut by Aishwarya Dhanush, but it could have been even better.

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6 thoughts on “3

  1. So this is what I missed! :) I’ll try and get a DVD when it gets released, just to see what you see in this fellow Dhanush – I know nothing about him and haven’t seen any of his pics but did see the Kolaveri clip on youtube. I wonder what it is with Tamil films and their depressing endings? I like ONLY happy endings – even if the last scene shows the horrible psycho villian becoming an almost-saint ( I claim my right to believe in lobotomy), or it shows the evil-stepmother becoming a Mother Teresa, I still want it all tied up neatly and happily! Thats one of the reasons I dont watch many Tamil films..

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    • Hi Suja

      The pics here don’t give you a good enough idea of why I like him? :P
      I’m not sure that this is the best introduction to Dhanush though! He is excellent in his role as Ram, but if you want a happy ending I’d suggest Yaradi Nee Mohini or Uthama Puthiran – both remakes of Telugu films which makes all the difference.
      This film revels in its misery for the last hour, although the first half is lovely – very romantic and sweet.
      I’m not sure why, but most Tamil films do seem to have unhappy endings, but that’s the way I like it! Irish stories usually end up the same way – in the classic Ulster saga of The Táin for example (my favourite), the hero CúChulainn dies in the end, so perhaps it’s genetic :)
      We will have to discuss this further!
      Cheers, Heather

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  2. I am waiting for the Hindi dubbed version of the movie to be released in North India as stated in Wikipedia….I hope this is true and not just a rumour! I would like to comment on the “Tamil cinema movie endings” discussion posted above. Even though Tamil and Malayalam cinema have their own share of “masala” and “feel-good” movies, these two film-industries are generally known for their gripping and realistic portrayal of human relationships in India. This is why these industries usually have movies depicting sad endings. Some of these endings seem perfect, while others, unfortunately, look forced….I can’t say where “3″ lies in this aspect.
    Pulkita

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    • Hi Pulkita,
      The realistic element is often why I love the Tamil and Malayalam films, and the endings are often true to life, which is why they aren’t 100% happy :)
      It’s quite different from Telugu films where a happy ending seems to be compulsory – thinking of the difference between Vinnaithaandi Varuvaaya and Ye Maya Chesave here which have totally different endings.
      The problem I had with 3 is that it just isn’t realistic. It’s much too over dramatised and that’s why it doesn’t work as well as Mayakkam Enna for instance where the situation seems more true to life. But it’s still a very interesting and impressive debut, and the first half really is amazing. I hope it does get the Hindi release soon.
      Sounds as if it really is happening as there have been articles about Dhanush doing his own dubbing which should be interesting! :)
      Cheers,
      Heather

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  3. Hero being dead in the opening scene didn’t make me watch enough to get to the second half. I know “sad endings are realistic” and ‘Tamil movies more realistic’ theme, but I think it is sadistic to expect us to enjoy a love story after telling us that one of them is dead.

    In every scene, all I can ever think is, ‘what the use of her fighting parents? He is going to be dead anyway’. It is different if we knew he was dead after we had enough emotional investment into their life. I think it is like looking at a newspaper story of some accident and then looking up the life of the dead person(s). I certainly don’t want to know the details of the emotional life of the dead person. Death is sad as it is and I don’t want to be invested more into it to get more misery out.

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    • Hi Violet,
      Knowing that Ram had died right from the beginning wasn’t a problem for me as I was interested enough in the characters to want to know what happened. It was a novel way to open the film and I actually thought it gave a good insight into Janani’s character in the way she reacted. I found it more suspenseful than anything else since the manner of his death wasn’t initially explained and there was an inference that it might have been murder. Plus I did really enjoy the development of the romance and it didn’t matter at all to me that I knew he was going to die :)
      However it’s not a typical ‘realistic’ Tamil film, and I didn’t think the second half was sad so much as dramatic. Most of the decisions made by Ram, Janani and Senthi didn’t make sense, and the medical treatments were all very extreme, so there was very little realism there. The only really sad part for me was when the dog was killed :(
      Cheers
      Heather

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