Ankk Productions' Tamil film Indravizha (the name borrowed from a millennia-old Tamil spring tradition), directed by K Rajeswar is the inspired version of the Hindi film, Aitraaz (in itself inspired from Hollywood's Disclosure).
The opening scenes don't give you any hope, as you have Savithri Duraisimaalu (debutante Hemamalini), a law student graduating from college, shaking her hips at her graduation ceremony in a way that doesn't make any sense. A little later, matters get clarified: she's protesting on behalf of a student who hasn't received justice and voila! justice is done, and Savithri graduates (!) with full honours. Unfortunately, soon after, she gets into all sorts of ridiculous situations which makes you wonder what sort of a lawyer she actually is.
Matters get better when you're introduced to the smart, intelligent Santhosh Srinivasan (Srikanth), Creative Head of spunky television channel Teen TV, game for all sorts of dare-devil (and some silly) TV shows, serials, and serious news segments that hog top TRPs. Santhosh and Savithri bump into each other on several Teen TV-induced situations, while small-time actor Oppilla Mani (Vivek) manages to provide his own set of laughs, impersonating Gauravam's Sivaji Ganesan, among others.
Soon, romance is in the air. Life goes along swimmingly for Santhosh until he runs into his boss, John Kumaramangalam (Nasser), discussing business propositions. The two hit it off well together, until the boss throws a bombshell; the TV will be taken over by a new CEO. When Santhosh catches sight of who exactly it is, life turns upside down. Nemesis has returned, it seems in the form of his boss's wife, Kamini (sultry, buxom screen goddess Namitha).
From then on, it's a game of dangerous one-upmanship, leading to betrayal, double entendres, sexual harassment and the crowning glory: an involved court procedure that throws up fireworks.
Srikanth performs as usual: with two stock expressions and Hemamalini is a plump heroine who really has nothing to do except wear skimpy clothes and arrive bang in the last scene.
The surprise package is Namitha, and she does light up the screen. Her resemblance to a sumo-wrestler might be startling but she proves that given the right role, she can do the impossible -- actually act. Her turn as the sly, cunning woman who'll do anything to succeed is a sizzling performance, and her dubbing voice works wonders. She's pretty much the only reason this movie doesn't fall flat on its face.
Vivek tries very hard to get back to his laugh-a-second escapades, and succeeds a bit. Meantime, there's a whole host of actors like YG Mahendra (who overdoes the Malayali lawyer part a bit too much), Radha Ravi (the judge with a somber sense of humour) and Ragasya who fill their roles quite well.
Yathish's music, except maybe the remix, seems a terrible waste, and the songs find absolutely no place in what should have been a taut thriller. Jey Camil Alex's camera work is pleasing without being intrusive but it's Editor Raghu Babu who has really worked hard to make this a feast.
There's a rich sheen to the movie that works and the dialogues certainly aren't cliched. They do, however, reek of the Hindi original, and seem a bit unnatural at times. The climax is a convoluted piece of over-acting that does no one any good.
While director K Rajeswar deserves credit for choosing a cast that has done some justice to the story, too much double entendre and thrusting of silliness rather spoils the flow. Watch it once for Namitha.