A four-member band goes to Singapore for a gig and the band's lead singer falls in love with
Sona, an enigmatic fan and a tragedy waiting to happen.
Let us get this straight.
is not a classic movie; not even the best in its year — 1979 was the year of
. It is also definitely not the first film that comes to mind when you think of either Rajinikanth or Kamal Haasan or K Balachander. It arguably belongs in the list of minor (though not insignificant) works from these three industry veterans. Yet, it is this film that has been digitally restored and re-released, and in looking for reasons, you realize that this is so mainly because of the stature of these three important figures in Tamil cinema.
The story, by Sujatha, is actually a melodrama — a four-member band (Yours Lovingly) goes to Singapore for a gig and the band's lead singer Chandru (Kamal) falls in love with Sona (Jayapradha), an enigmatic fan and a tragedy waiting to happen. But Balachander treats this more as a musical and a rom-com. For the former, he gets one of the fabulous late-career albums from MS Viswanathan, and, not surprisingly, the songs from this film feel less dated than the scenes. As for the comedy, he alternates the romance of Chandru and Sona with the shenanigans of the band's other members, especially Deepak (an extremely funny Rajinikanth), the guitarist, who goes in search of a mysterious girl whose voice he has in a cassette. These choices do make the film a bit uneven; one moment you are asked to care about the terminally-ill Sona, while in the next, you are expected to laugh at Deepak's plight. And, some of the scenes in Singapore are more like tourism commercials.
Yet, despite the flaws and the slightly dated feel, the film makes you develop a certain fondness for these characters. Even as we want to know of Chandru's future, we also want to find out what happened to the other band members. One of the little delights in watching this film again is spotting familiar actors like Sarath Babu, Jayasudha, SVe Shekher and Geetha in blink-and-miss roles. It is as much fascinating to see Rajinikanth goofing around minus his Superstar baggage, as it is to watch Kamal playing a regular romantic hero of that time. And, it is also interesting to see Balachander managing to add his signature touches to what is essentially an unabashed crowd-pleaser.