Rakesh's movie talk
123 (2002)

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Directed by K. Subaash
Written by ?
Starring Prabhu Deva, Raju Sundaram, Nagendra Prasath and Jyothika


Here is a Tamil movie that portrayed disabled individuals in positive light and it flopped. We all know what a big success Kasi was featuring sympathy seeking blind character. It stamped Vikram as a good actor, though any other actor who can roll their eye backwards and do the sad scenes can steal the audiences heart. Back in 1980, Kamal Hassans first time produced film, Rajaparvai, also featured blind protagonist leading a normal life, filled with good light scenes and it flopped too. I don't want to comment further about Tamil film audiences.

Here we get to see three characters, a blind, a mute and a deaf. Played by brothers Prabhu Deva, Raju Sundaram and Nagendra Prasath (together they have more talent than all the other young actors combined), these are individuals who struggled and actually achieved in leading normal lives. You see, they don't want to be sympathised and in order to achieve that they go on pretending to others that they don't have such disabilities at all. And they do it believably well. Prabhu Deva is Tirupathi, the blind one, who goes through his usual routine with carefully measured steps and turns which can fool a normal person. Raju Sundaram is the deaf Pazhani who can read others lips, only failing when the others do not speaking in front of him. The mute Chithambaram is played or rather underplayed by Nagendra Prasath, who, more or less gets exposed but pulls together nevertheless.

Their lives are brought together by Jyothika's character Narmadha who initially plotted to kill Chithambaram who witnessed her brothers murder. Of course, she finds out that he is blind after all and falls in love. From here onwards, the normal triangle love story takes place. It could have been routine, but with these extraordinary characters played almost with perfection by the brothers, every scene sparkles with creativity and is never dry of strong humour. Yup! You got it right. K. Shubaash, the director and writer, proved that you could make a well-sketched comedy using blind, deaf and mute characters without insulting them and their weaknesses. Here, we do not laugh at them; we laugh with them. How we wish that we were living amongst these three instead of some self conscious normal person we see on day to day basis.

K. Subaash is also responsible for Prabhu Devas Yezhaiyin Siripinile a film I enjoyed very much. Like that film, this film has a good structure formed around a simple plot. Prabhu Deva's blind character is perhaps one of the most original in Tamil films. His resembles Kamal's character in Raja Parvai, also a musician (nothing stereotype here, plenty of blind persons are musicians). More than anything, he adds his own spontaneity and great timing and injects great amount of humour to the blind guy. Nagendra Prasath doesn't get to do much, though he almost went into sympathy mode a couple of times - a danger which is quickly avoided by the director/scriptwriter. Strange enough the guy who stands out is Raju Sundaram, who whose deaf Pazhani is the most vocal guy who usually does the talking for both Chithambaram and Tirupathi. He gets most of the laugh, even when he is not trying too hard. Its comedy come natural for him. I noticed the same in Jeans, where he almost stole the show from everyone else. He need not become comedian, he should follow his brothers footstep and do roles that also require humour. It would be a step into the right direction for this choreographer. Speaking of which...

I had always like all the dances with Prabhu Deva in it. Though he is not credited as a choreographer I am sure that there must be some input from him. Here, we get triple delight as we get to see all three brothers dancing to their hearts content. We may never see it again, and too bad this film has already been forgotten.

On the minus side, Devas music stinks as usual. Theres nothing great about cinematography and editing. Jyothika need to replenish her bag of tricks as her facial expressions looks run down like a badly operated pub. I could go on, but I wanted to see this movie only for the brothers and I got more than what I wanted.

I urged readers to give this movie another try. Get it on Video. Mine is a version released by Dragon A. V, and as it has always been with other Tamil films, the quality is desirable, but watchable at the same time. Again, give it a try.