Veteran director K.Balachander is back from a sabbatical with his 101 film ‘Poi.'
Valluvanar (Avinash) is an upright political leader in Tamil Nadu much respected for his honesty and uprightness. And he refuses to compromise on this trait even when his only son Kamban (Uday Kiran) finds himself in jail for no fault of his.
The opposition party takes advantage of the situation and bails out Kamban, who joins this party much to his father's embarrassment. The media laps it up sensationalizing it further. Then Kamban decides to leave the country until things cool down. Only his mother Vasuki with whom he is close is aware of this plan.
Kamban arrives at Sri Lanka where he be-friend's Banerjee, a Bengali and Kamban stays with him. One day he finds a Tamil literary book on the beach which he traces to Shilpa the owner of the book. Shilpa (Vimala) is a college student preparing for the civil services examination.
The film juggles between reality and fiction, where Theepori, the fictitious father image of Kamban advises him to fall in love. That sets in rolling the love story as Kamban persists in wooing Shilpa.
She is staying with her brother's family. Shilpa is keen on realizing her ambitions and feels that love and marriage often comes in the way of women's career. The rest of the story is about the emotional conflict between her career and love.
‘Poi' ends on an unpredictable and tragic note, which makes it different. It is refreshing to see the faces of Uday Kiran and Vimala on the Tamil screen. Besides the dialogues laced with humour saves the film which is otherwise a disappointment coming from KB. Also it is a respite from the present commercial films loaded with item numbers, revealing costumes, double entendres, violence and gore. All this is conspicuously absent in the film and standing out are the moral values that seem to have become irrelevant today.
Vimala looks beautiful and her costumes show that you don't need to reveal skin to look sexy and desirable. Certainly a face to look out for.
Uday Kiran with his chocolate face fits the role well as the mama's boy. But it is Renuka as Shilpa's sister-in-law who impresses. Her dialogue delivery with typical modulation lends humour to the story.
Prakash Raj could have stopped with being ‘Poi's producer. He personifies ‘Fate', a totally unwarranted character.
Mostly shot in Sri Lanka, the visuals are picturesque but ‘Poi' lacks the mark of Balachander's earlier films.
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