Tamil Reviews

Balle Vellaiya Thevaa Review: Another Tiresome Rural Drama

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Balle Vellaiya Theva does one thing effectively: turning Kovai Sarala into the new-age Manorama. This has been coming for a few movies now – she owns a comedy track, gets teary-eyed if needed, and is the loud-mouthed benevolent old woman whom the village loves (or hates when convenient). She can make the most dreary jokes, laugh, cry, and cook up drama at will – it really wouldn’t be amiss.

And that perhaps is her most powerful weapon.

Kovai Sarala is not someone you’d take seriously – and she makes it work in her favour. When a director wants to mock that statutory warning against smoking and alcohol consumption, he enlists the help of Sarala’s unique nasal drawl.

She can no longer be one of the main leads as in Sathi Leelavathi, but Sarala has eased herself into several other roles: whether its the widow with a hotheaded son (Komban) or the really unfunny spirit that appears in a song in Kadavul Irukaan Kumaru. In Balle Vellaiya Thevaa, she’s Kaathaayi, the childless matriarch (yes!) of the village with a penchant for selfies and a whole lot of drama. Sarala doesn’t care when something isn’t funny.

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She ploughs on earnestly with an instinctive belief that someone, somewhere, would laugh.

They do.

Even when over half the theatre stays silent during an unfunny routine, there’s always the polite chuckle from a distant corner. And, I forgive her quickly – just for her intense comedy. She would definitely make for a fascinating interview subject sometime – as would all comediennes in Tamil cinema. You can’t help but wonder – what makes them tick, really?

***

Sasikumar fondly hopes for another Subramaniapuram, and it is on this quest that he flits between villages, one hopeless rural script at a time. In Vetrivel, he was Vetrivel – who wooed a woman with some creepy stalking. In Balle Vellaiya Thevaa, he’s Sakthivel – who woos a woman with some really creepy stalking.

That’s all the difference there is. The latest Sasikumar film is just another version of Vetrivel with romance that feels as wrong and baseless as the other running theme in the movie: a feud between a village lord and Sakthivel over a DTH service.

It need not have been all that bad, though. The ending is nicer than Subramaniapuram’s, similar but without the violence, and on a comic vein. But it isn’t as potent, and it doesn’t justify the near two-hour drama preceding it. And the moment you hear the notes of a popular song from Subramaniapuram, the illusion that this movie has anything to go on is dispelled. There’s nothing here save the past glory of its lead.

And no matter what previous hits Balle Vellaiya Thevaa draws on, a pair of eyes is just not enough to make sense of it. For instance, who is the Vellaiya Thevan here, really?

*****

The Balle Vellaiya Thevaa review is a Silverscreen original article. It was not paid for or commissioned by anyone associated with the movie. Silverscreen.in and its writers do not have any commercial relationship with movies that are reviewed on the site.

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