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Patriotic Epic: Pazhasiraaja

Cast: Mammootty, Sarath Kumar, Manoj K. Jeyan. Kaniha and Padmapriya
Music: Ilaiyaraja
Director: T. Hariharan

The film has as its backdrop the reign of the East India Company, which laid the foundation to the take-over of the country by the British for close to 100 years. Pazhasiraaja was a king who, along with handful of horse-ridden soldiers, had the guts and patriotism to stand up against autocratic British rule. The film narrates the twin tales of women, who were equally courageous like men and fought the foreign aggression, as well as those who turned against their own motherland and were branded as traitors.

Mammootty plays Pazhasiraaja, the king, who has faithful, trusted and great warriors as lieutenants in Sarath Kumar and Manoj K. Jeyan. Kaniha and Padmapriya play female leads to Mammootty and Jeyan respectively while Suman and Ratnam play the traitors in this great saga of sacrifice and velour.

Pazhasiraaja is one of the very few kings who had withstood foreign aggression (long before the Sepoy Mutiny of 1857) and is placed among the likes of Kattabomman, Tipu Sultan and Pulithevan by historians. The brave warrior that Pazhasiraaja is, he bounces back after being defeated in a war against the British only to continue his war against them with the help of the tribal folks. The film in itself is a lesson to the younger generation.

The film is fast-paced with razor-sharp dialogues, extraordinary stunt choreography, amazing cinematography and peerless performances by the lead actors. Sadly, beyond a certain point, the story appears repetitive and seems to be replete with deceit and betrayal and revenge. The film breezes through in the first half and lags badly in the second half.

Mammootty, as always, dazzles in his role and so does Sarath Kumar. All the lead actors perform well. Padmapriya stands out with her ease in stunt sequences.

Ilaiyaraaja’s score adds value to the film. His tunes are melodious and the background score is just right. Shetty has shot the war sequences with panache. “Oscar” Rasool’s sound recording and mixing are top-notch. Sub-titles during lengthy English dialogues are helpful to the audience.

Notwithstanding the hard work put in by Hariharan, the technicians and the cast, the film drags a bit in the second half.
[Chennai Online]


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