Director Sasikumar knows the knack of rendering rural entertainers laced with romance and friendship.
Starting with 'Subramaniapuram', he followed it up with 'Nadodigal'. Now in 'Sundarapandian', which is more of 'Subramaniapuram' meeting 'Nadodigal', the producer in Sasikumar has brought to the world a good director in S R Prabhakar.
If the first half is a breezy cool entertainer, the second half is loaded with sentiments and powerful dialogues that make the movie eminently watchable. The twists and turns in the climax deserve a pat.
Sasikumar apparently knows his weakness more than his strengths. Hence the male protagonist that he plays is molded to his strength.
He plays a romantic youth but that is no eye-sore to the eyes of the audience. Sasikumar's fascination for Madurai continues with 'Sundarapandian' too as the whole movie is set in hamlets like Usilampatti and Kandamanor.
The crux of the story is friendship, betrayal and romance. But it is packaged in such a way that it would keep the audience light-hearted all through. There are moments where one will laugh with the artistes, eyes go wet in emotional scenes and walk out of theatres with a happy-ending.
Prabhakar who has worked with Sasikumar as an associate has taken his master's route. Hence it's obvious that the signature style of his 'guru' is visible in almost every frame.
And the technical crew comes to his rescue making the rustic rural theme look more authentic.
The movie revolves around Sundarapandian (Sasikumar). He is the only son of a rich landlord who is admired by one and all.
Sundarapandian goes out of the way to help his friends. In one instance, he goes out to hammer and tong to help his friend's love succeed.
But the twist is the girl happens to be his ex-lover Archana (Lakshmi). She falls for Sundarapandian again. A murder happens for Archana and Sundarapandian goes to jail.
When he returns, he is forced to face challenges from his friends. More trouble is in store for Sundarapandian when his wedding is arranged with Archana. What happens then is a riveting climax.
Sasikumar as Sundarapandian is the bulwark of the movie. He is at ease playing the role and his body language fits it well. Comedy comes naturally for him.
Lakshmi Menon is adequate for the role. She pours out right emotions and quite like any other film from Company Productions, the heroine has a meaty role to play.
Parota Suri's comedy timing and nice performance by all artistes including Vijay Sethupathy hogs limelight. Songs by Raghunanthan may be average, but he compensates with the background score. Influence of maestro Ilayaraja is visible at many scenes.
Cinematography is the major backbone for the film. Capturing the dry forts of Usilampatti and the colourful songs add value to the film.
However the lacunae could be a lengthy second half and the deja vu feel of 'Subramaniapuram' and 'Nadodigal', which is visible towards the climax.
All said, 'Sundarapandian' is a honest attempt. Prabhakar does his best and make it an interesting watch thanks to Sasikumar.