Rating: 1-1/2 stars

If you are up to watching a 'run-of-the-mill' masala-love story, you are definitely up to watching Aanandha Poongaatrae. Almost 80% of the film reeks with predictability with the other 20% contains twists in the story that make you shrug your shoulders (in surprise or in boredom? You decide!) Raj Kapoor never went to the scripting board after Kalyaana Galaatta! Aanandha Poongaatrae is evidence of just that!

Ajeethkumar, CEO of "A-Z, May I help you?" has a deiveega kaadhal blossoming, growing and wilting for 4 years with the widow next door, Meena. Meens raises a son and makes a living teaching dance to the neighborhood children. Matters come to the fore only after the rich man's (Rajan P. Dev) daughter, MaLavika, falls head over heels in love with Ajeethkumar and starts stalking him in a lovable, yet annoying fashion. Not knowing how to get MaLavika to step aside, Ajeethkumar bursts out by declaring his love for Meena at a marriage hall right before the 'interval' Ajeethkumar and Meena in "Aanandha Poongaatrae"caption. Old man Vijaykumar, who quietly hangs around the neighbourhood hoping to regain his daughter Meena's love again, plays a huge character in the second half of the film. How the music teacher Karthik's and Meena's relationship is misunderstood and how Meena chooses to take revenge by assuming widowhood status forms the flashback. How Ajeeth convinces Meena to fall in love and agree to marry him forms the rest of the story. A couple of twists (one towards the end of the flashback and one just before the conclusion!) are the only two salvaging factors of this film.

Amongst the stars, Ajeeth looks tired from what appears to be a very 'sava sava' role for him. Meena is pretty in many scenes, especially during the Semmeena ViNmeena song. She seems to have shed a few pounds and doesn't look too old beside Ajeeth. MaLavika, the "dark" (in all senses of the word) horse gets an interesting role as the woman who pines for Ajeeth's love and affection. MaLs, who is a Roja look-alike in certain angles, has been used nicely enough to not be expected to act! :-) :-). Rajan P. Dev is also impressive as the Madras baashai villain. Unfortunate that this would be 'Parry' Venkat's last film, especially considering he had such a small role. Karthik and Vijayakumar fall under the 'passable' category. Bhanupriya, poor woman, is wasted in a song sequence. The baby who stars as Karthik's child in the film is absolutely adorable (drishti suththi podanum! ;-) Vadivelu gets special recognition for the 'bad words telephone' scene, while Manivannan wins his laurels only in the "Aayaa" comments that he cracks at Meena in the claimax.

The cinematography and music are no great shakes, but not terrible either. I would ask Ajeeth to reconsider Sabesh to playback voice for him again (scary when you watch the song, Udhayam Theaterile on screen)! If you have nothing great to do and wish to sleep through the first half of a certain film and catch up watching the second half, Aanandha Poongaatrae is for you!

Sandya Krishna

Original Photograph (Aanandha Poongaatrae): Thanks to Tamilcinema.com
Photograph scanned & reworked by: Sandya