As a Background, this is the first time, we have seen Mani Rathnam write and direct a movie, that involves the conflict of terrorism and more of a global movie (concerning India) rather than Tamil Nadu. When I first saw this movie, I was moved in tears by the story, direction and music. This is by far the best directed movie I have seen by Mani Rathnam (even better than Iruvar), mostly because the story flowed so smoothly and the subtle details that were present, especially when Rishi Kumar (Arvind Swamy) was kidnapped.
So to start of with the plot, the story revolves around Rishi Kumar and Roja (Madhoo), who get married in the beginning after many hurdles faced by both of them. Rishi Kumar originally was supposed to marry Roja's sister, but after Roja's sister confessed to Rishi Kumar, that she is in love with someone else, but cannot marry him now, due conflicts between their families. Rishi, then takes the blame for not marrying her, by saying he was in love with her younger sister, Roja. Due to the fact, that Rishi Kumar is well educated, handsome, and holds a good job, they were unwilling to refuse to Rishi Kumar's request, and Roja ends up marrying Rishi Kumar, and her older sister marries the person she loves. Due to Rishi Kumar's rejection of Roja's sister, she resents Rishi Kumar, until he tells her about why he chose to not marry her. After realizing her sister was happy with her husband, she begins to fall in love with Rishi Kumar.
Due to the illness of Rishi's boss, Rishi had to take a special project in Kashmir, where he as a cytologist, had a special task of cracking codes from the enemies. Due to the insistence of Roja, Rishi takes Roja with him, to Kashmir. Due to the high profile security around both Rishi and his wife, the terrorist who are demanding freedom for Kashmir, uses this as an opportunity and kidnaps Rishi Kumar, and asks the government to release a terrorist leader, who has killed many, Wasim Khan. Due to the nature of the situation, the government refused to release Wasim Khan for Rishi Kumar. This leads Roja, to plead with the police and the heads of government, to do anything to free her husband. From the pleading of Roja, the government finally allows Wasim Khan to be released, for Rishi Kumar, to the disappointment of head police chief (Nasser), who worked hard to imprison Wasim Khan. Finally in the end, when the exchange was supposed to take place between Wasim Khan and Rishi Kumar, the terrorist just give them clothes of Rishi Kumar, and Wasim Khan was immediately taken back, since the terrorist didn't keep up with their end of the deal. In the end, we realize that the terrorist couldn't hand over Rishi Kumar, since he escaped, and Rishi Kumar faces off with the head terrorist (Pankaj Kapoor), who after many conversations with Rishi Kumar, changed him as a person, and lets him go. The film ends with Rishi Kumar and Madhoo, reuniting at the end.
The greatness of this movie is the direction of Mani Rathnam and music by A.R. Rahman. This is by far the best music produced by A.R. Rahman, and from Roja to Slumdog Millionaire, I would say his debut film, Roja, was the best movie, he has made music for. The most moving moments in the movie, are scenes after Rishi Kumar gets kidnapped. When Pankaj Kapoor, tries to make him plead for release of Wasim Khan on a recorder, He refuses and says "Jai Hind" and every time he says it, he gets beaten by his guards, until finally they point the gun at him to shoot, and he continues to say "Jai Hind", at which moment, Wasim Khan stops them from shooting him. Another good moments from the movie, is the interaction between Roja and the police chief (Nasser), where the police chief doesn't believe that Wasim Khan should be released for a normal citizen like Rishi Kumar, and he should risk his life for the country. To which Roja, asks if he would say the same, if it was the son of the prime minister, or anyone related to someone in power. Also when Roja, confronts Wasim Khan in jail, and asks him why he is trying to kill someone who is innocent, for his personal gain. And further asks him why he doesn't just go to Pakistan, if he does not like India, and stop killing innocent civilians like her husband. The best moment in the movie I believe is the moment, when one of the terrorist guard informs (Pankaj Kapoor) that they have refused to release Wasim Khan, and for the bad news he takes out the flag, and tries to burn it. Rishi Kumar reacts to this by forcefully breaking the window, and jumping over the flag, to extinguish the fire. And he tries to fight off the guards, and finally gets restrained by them. The background music for this scene was well done, and the camera work, where one cannot see the flag, until he burns it, was very well done by Mani Rathnam. Overall the plot, direction, music, make this one of the finest Tamil movies ever taken. The acting by Arvind Swamy and Madhoo was excellent. Overall this is a great movie, especially if you enjoy patriotic movies, like Border, Kargil etc.
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