Film: '3'; Cast: Dhanush, Shruti Haasan, Sundar, Prabhu, Bhanupriya, Rohini, Sivakarthikeyan and others; Director: Aishwarya R. Dhanush; Producer: Kastoori Raja; Composer: Anirudh; Rating: ** 1/2
The film '3' is the maiden directorial venture of Aishwarya, daughter of Tamil movie icon Rajinikanth. Interestingly the film about three stages in the protagonists' lives begins with a funeral shot, but the identity of the dead person is not clear initially.
The following scenes gradually reveal that it is misery struck Janani's (Shruti) husband Ram (Dhanush) who is dead.
The stories continues with Janani's memories opening up.
Ram, a class 12th student, falls in love with Janani whom he meets on the road. Janani hails from a middle-class family and they are going through a financial crunch, while Ram is the son of a successful businessman.
Janani tries to avoid Ram, given her family background and natural reaction of a teenage girl. Ram, however, follows her undeterred and finally wins her love. This flashback constitutes phase one of the movie.
Janani disregards her parents' wishes and their dream of settling in the US after her college education to be with Ram. Gradually their parents accept their love and the two get married. Ram's father buys a posh apartment for the young couple to live in. This is phase two.
After marriage, it is revealed that Ram suffers from bi-polar disorder. Ram's friend Senthil (Sunder) finds out about his mental illness.
The doctor says that because of his illness Ram could be dangerous at times. So the friend decides to protect Janani from his unexpected emotional upheaval. They hide it from her. Senthil tries hard to cure his friend, while Janani struggles to cope up with Ram's inexplicable behaviour. This is stage three of their lives.
What transpires later forms the crux of the story.
The first half is full of romance in scenes where Ram follows Janani, their midnight's adventure romance on terrace, meetings at each other's home in the absence of parents.
But there are many scenes that don't go down well. For instance, a school girl going to bed with full makeup is not convincing. There are many such scenes, but they do not reduce the charm of the movie's first half.
Excellent cinematography, Anirudh's youthful background scores, Dhanush and Shruti's chemistry and Aishwarya's dialogues carry the movie forward.
The drama and emotion that ensues at Janani's home after her parents oppose her relationship with Ram are beautifully portrayed.
But the movie falls flat in the second half.
It is an unwritten rule in Tamil cinema that if lovers are united before the interval, then in the later part either one of them dies or suffers from some disease. 'Vazhve Mayam' and 'Varanam Ayiram' are some of the examples.
Aishwarys's '3' is no exception. The hero suffers from a disease, but no valid explanation is given for that.
Hiding Ram's illness from Janani is justified, but one wonders why Senthil didn't approach Ram's father who would've arranged for his treatment.
Post-interval, the movie never gets a chance to rise.
Dhanush and Shruti have performed well, both in romantic and emotional scenes. But their efforts have gone futile as audiences refuse to tolerate the same drama that they have already seen umpteen times.
Shruti looks beautiful. Dhanush was not playing a mentally disturbed person for the first time in '3', and his acting has matured a lot.
Rohini has performed well. Sundar's performance as Dhanush's friend shows refinement.
More than Anirudh's massive hit 'Why this Kolvaeri', 'Kannazhaga' pleases our ears more.
The picturisation of the song 'Kolaveri', which went viral on the internet when released in November last year, doesn't match up to its popularity.
Background music sounds good. Velraj's cinematography has added a glow to the movie.
The director has attempted to show '3' phases of life. Because of the pitfalls in the third phase, the movie falls apart.
Neither a joyous love story nor a serious movie, '3' actually stands in between.
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