Director: A.R. Raja Raja
Producer: H.G.K. Moorthy
Cast: Navdeep,Sheela, Suhasini,Vijaykumar, Ali, Sangeetha, Shubalekha Sudhakar, Manorama, Dharmavarapu and Krishnabhagavan
Music: Mani Sharma
A straight Tamil film some times, Raja Rajeswari Combines’ `Ilavattam’ (U/A) has scenes dubbed-from-Telugu interspersed. Adolescent dreams and desires form its theme. This gives A. R. Rajaraja’s story, screenplay, dialogue and direction a chance to introduce sensuality and sexual overtones to drive home the point that if you allow your mind to wander at a time when you should concentrate on studies, your future could turn bleak.
Cheenu (Navdeep) is a happy-go-lucky schoolboy who is attracted to classmate Lakshmi (Sheela).
The infatuation is mutual, but circumstances aren’t conducive for them to meet each other often. And when they find a way to get together, they are caught red-handed by Lakshmi’s devious brother-in-law (Babloo).
The cast & crew
After a lukewarm effort in `Jairam’ and an impressive attempt in `Arindhum Ariyaamalum,’ Navdeep returns with `Ilavattam’ and does quite a neat job of it. As a schoolboy caught in a mire of lust, and later as a responsible achiever he fills the bill. Child artiste Sheela makes her debut as heroine in `Ilavattam’ and shows no inhibitions. She looks over made-up in certain sequences. Most of the scenes with character actors such as Manorama, Vijayakumar, Babloo and `Shubhalekha’ Sudhakar appear to be shot in Telugu and dubbed (in their own voices, of course) in Tamil. Thus when lip sync suffers it affects your concentration. Suhasini plays a district collector, who helps the hero and heroine chart the right course for themselves — a few of her sequences also appear obviously dubbed.
Funnily, all the years that Cheenu is in college he gets police protection to guard him from the villain. He has bodyguards accompanying him even to the examination hall! (Can the government machinery be used in such a manner?) But when he and Lakshmi actually leave for the village where they could be easily attacked they are left alone, vulnerable and helpless. Also, the scene where the hero chances to see a couple in bed looks utterly crass.
Mani Sharma’s music is racy as always. `Yaar Kadavulai Parthadhu’ makes an impact. The way it has been shot (Selva R.) and edited (Raja Mohammad) also deserves mention. In fact, editing lends reasonable pace to the narration as a whole. Mani’s re-recording in some of the serious sequences is melodious. Venkateshwara’s art churns out the colourful, rustic look of Telugu land.
The hero, an award-winning student of the year, in his thanksgiving speech, shares his event-filled past with the entire college. The screenplay takes its first beating here. A whole crowd of teachers, invitees, chief guest and students are made to sit through a two-hour flashback of the hero’s story. Is it possible or in the least believable?