Parthiban Kanavu Review
Parthiban (Srikanth) is a quite brilliant, intelligent 25-year old, but he is unable to hold down a job for longer than 2 months as he gets bored with the 9-5 routine of office work (tell me about it). His father lines him up with a great job as a Marketing Executive for a telecom company, where he can come and go as he likes and doesn’t even have to come into the office at all if he clears his monthly targets, which shouldn’t be hard judging by the easy-sells we see him make. All this plus he gets paid on his first day in the office. (Are there any more jobs going in Satyam Telecom?) Now that they have got him into a job, Parthiban’s parents want to arrange a nice little marriage for him to get him settled down, but he’s not interested in the photographs of prospective brides they have gathered for him – not that he’s against an arranged marriage, he’s just not that interested in getting married at all – he’d rather hang out with his layabout friends, smoking on the street corner and eyeing up the girls. Then one day along comes the most beautiful girl he has ever seen and everything seems to fall into place, because Sathya (Sneha) turns out to be the very same person his parents have selected for his arranged marriage. Or at least, this is what Parthiban thinks...
One of Parthiban’s buddies is Mano, played by comedian Vivek, who does his usual little comedy sequences throughout the film, playing fresh with his wife who no longer sleeps with him for being such a lazy layabout and getting up to all sorts of schemes to earn a few rupees out of friends and relatives. Some of Vivek’s routines are very funny indeed, some of them miss the mark and some of them just don’t translate well into English, but they integrate better into the film than Vivek’s similar antics in Thirumalai, and is at least relevant to the film’s central subject of examining what it is that makes a marriage work or not.
Without Vivek’s input – and it’s not that considerable – Parthiban Kanavu would be a very dull film indeed. The fairytale romance and the arranged marriage elements are all very predictable, as is the revelation that Sathya is not who Parthiban expected her to be. Added to this the lead characters - two rich kids who have everything taken care of for them - and the actors who play them while very beautiful, are very, very bland indeed. There seems to be little chemistry between them and even the love sequence song routines are very mediocre, especially for fantasies. The songs themselves however are very good, as are some of the other musical sequences which make a lot of references to Tamil cinema.
Tamil movie traditions are also upheld with the inevitable gangster/street mob violence element of the film which was signposted early in the film when Sathya’s father, Manickam – a reformed but still influential gangster – drops a gun outside the registry office. By the time this element comes back into the film after the blandness of the love story it really feels tacked on and after sitting through almost two hours of the apparent wetness of Parthiban, his transformation into a martial arts expert who can take out a mob single-handedly really doesn’t convince at all, nor do the usual cartoon slap and punch sound-effects. But, hey – it’s a Tamil movie thing.
The film’s central point about the relative merits of an arranged marriage versus a love marriage are not that difficult to figure out. Unfortunately for the sake of the film as entertainment, it takes a very wholesome, dull and conservative viewpoint, putting the case for arranged marriage over falling in love with a girl who you ogle on the street and placing value on the traditional role of women as mother, wife and daughter. And it makes the point none to subtly, as even Mano resolves his situation with his wife by the end of the film.
The DVD is NTSC encoded and region free. On this particular title, it takes a 5 full minutes for the DVD to load with all mandatory ads for Ayngaran Telecom and the animated menus. This is not good practice.
The picture quality is reasonably fine and certainly better than many Tamil releases by Ayngaran, but it is certainly not up to the standard of their more recent releases. Colours are a little too light and pastel coloured, but are clearly defined and stable with good brightness and contrast levels. The usual dustspot marks can be seen throughout, with one or two larger scratches, tramlines and marks, but it’s not a great problem. Macro blocking artefacts are often visible and some telecine wobble. It’s far from great technically, but the picture remains clear and reasonably sharp throughout, although there is a haziness to some of the scenes. A watermarked Ayngaran logo is displayed unobtrusively in the corner for a few seconds during the musicals sequences.
The film comes with Tamil DTS and Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtracks. Both are reasonably good, but the DTS mix has an obvious edge. Voices, as usual, can be a bit on the rough side and prone to crackle, but the music is clear and dynamic. It is presented mainly towards the front speakers with only occasional touches towards the rear speakers and it works well in this respect, sounding less artificial than some Tamil soundtracks.
English subtitles are optional and are relatively easy to follow, though there are some oddities in the grammer, spelling and punctuation. Little of this prevents clear understanding of the film.
There are no extra features, just chapter selection and the ability to go directly to songs or play all songs. Some trailers are offered for other Ayngaran titles.
Parthiban Kanavu is a nice film – and I mean that is the blandest sense of the word. It’s nicely made, the characters are nice, the actors perform nicely, the story resolves itself nicely and the music is nice and tasteful. It’s certainly not a bad film by any means – all the usual elements of comedy, action, music and romance are present and competently done, but there’s little here to really get excited about. Thirumalai, for example has many of the same elements that are seen here, delivers them less traditionally, less integrated into the film and often just plain badly, but its daftness makes it far more interesting and entertaining than anything seen here in Parthiban Kanavu.
Parthiban Kanavu can be purchased from Ayngaran International.