Rating: 3 stars

This movie is a very subtle and slow paced movie, which might get away fairly unnoticed, due to the hype of the big banner movies around. The movie stars Murali and Devayani, the favorite stars of Director Mu. Kalanjiyam, who did Poomani with the same combination. Also in the cast are Manivannan, Raghuvaran, 'Thalaivasal' Vijay, Vadivelu, Manorama and M.N. Nambiar. Ilayaraja has scored the music for this Kalanjiyam movie too. Kalanjiyam has set up a reputation of handling human emotions well, and this movie also goes on those lines only.  But the difference is Kalanjiyam is doing a movie away from the rural background for the first time.

Poonthottam is a bungalow which is situated in the heart of the city, but still undisturbed from the pollution of the city. Devayani's mother was incidentally the second wife of her dad Nasser who had gifted that house to them. While the sons of the first wife Vadivukarasi, are hell bent on taking it back from them. The movie starts off with an interesting encounter between these two parties and Devayani facing the thugs who enter forcibly into her house, to safe-guard the interests of the house. Murali is an orphan without any purpose in life, committing petty thefts and getting jailed. He and Manivannan rent a portion in Devayani's house and shift there. Slowly Devayani and co (her thaththa nambiar, paatti manorama and sister), discover Murali and Manivannan are more a menace, cos they drink and create problems in the locality. Devayani is in a tight financial situation and is helpless and unable to return the advance back to chase these set of people away. She passionately hates Murali who continues irritating and troubling the family. Slowly things change and Murali gets more attached to the family and leaves all his vices and enters as a saviour for the interests of the family. Devayani's step-brothers seek the help of dhada and real-estate tycoon Raghuvaran and his deputy 'Thalaivasal' Vijay to get the house back. There is an inDevayani and Murali in "Poonthottam" between story of Devyani's sister falling in love with Santhanabarathy's son and getting pregnant and Murali promises to get her lover back to her. The rest of the movie revolves around Murali fighting for the family and winning back the house from the dhada Raghuvaran, Devayani's sister's love and eventually Devayani's heart too.

The story is really forceful in the first-half when Murali plays a negative role and the second half is highly incoherent, directionless, slow due to some poor screen-play and direction. Murali, Devayani, Raghuvaran have done exceptionally well and they deserve a kudos for their performance. Manorama, Nambiar and Nasser have been wasted. Vadivelu who comes all through the movie as a comical character, suddenly transforms to an industrialist who still is an auto-driver etc. (kaathula pooonthOttam!)   Manivannan has given a normal performance with his "tami-nglish" comments and "nakkals." Raghuvaran and co, talk more and act less - some poor characterisation of real-estate-dhadhas. Ilayaraja's tunes are really melodious and "meetaatha veenai " sung by hariharan and " vaanaththil irunthu " and "vaanaththu thaaragaiyO " sung by himself are brilliant. A real feast of Raja fans. But the picturisation of songs is too tradtional without any innovativeness. All together the movie is a soft and sentimental movie largely playing with human emotions, but ineffectively supported by screenplay and direction. PoothOttam - vaasanai paththaathu.

Srinivasan Sivakumar

Original Photograph (PoonthOttam): Thanks to Anandha Vikatan
Photograph scanned & reworked by: Sandya