Director: Anwar

Cast: Murali, Roja, Rajesh Chinny Jayant, Ramji, Vyapuri, Vittal Prasad, Ragasudha, debutants Ajay K. and Master Vishwak.

The film’s title is ‘Ooty’. Director Anwar has his hero and heroine have a couple of their romantic encounters in Ooty, hence the title. But the film has most of its story set in Chennai. But then he didn’t name it ‘Chennai’. The movie opens with Murali shown playing the doting father to little Ashwak. While he himself is shabbily dressed with an unshaved face (Murali’s favourite look when he wants to play the despondent lover) he sees that his son is immaculately dressed. The boy’s troubled state-of-mind is sensed by the teacher who advises Murali to take him to a psychiatrist. Dr. Ajay learns from what Ashwak tells him, that the boy had sensed that his father was unhappy and was concerned for him. The doctor questions Murali and the flashback appear on the screen. About how Murali had seen Roja at a shop and fallen in love with her. How he had seen her again at his best friend Ramji’s wedding. She had turned out to be the bride’s best friend. About how the whole group had learnt of Murali’s love, which resulted in all the friends accompanying Ramji and his wife Raga Sudha on their honeymoon to Ooty. It was there that Roja had responded to Murali’s love.

The director gives a soft touch to the romantic scenes, like he had done in his ‘En Swasa Katre’ earlier. The hero’s friends Chinny Jayant and Vyapuri give a touch of humour to the scenes. Murali gets an urgent call from his uncle’s house. An orphan, he was grateful to his uncle and aunt for their kindness to him. He returns home to learn that it was his teenage cousin who had made the S.O.S. to him. The girl was pregnant, her lover had died in an accident, and she was terrified of her parents finding out. One can almost sense the way the story would go now. Murali, grateful to the family far all that they had done for him, marries the girl. The parents are shocked, abuse him and throw the duo out of the house. Months later the girl delivers a boy and dies in childbirth.

Back to the present and you have a third angle now. Doctor Ajay is in love with Roja for the past six years. There are some shots of Roja teaching aerobics or modern dance or something. Roja clearly tells him of her past love and the betrayal, but the Doctor, a stubborn man, waits for her to change her mind. After hearing Murali’s story, the Doctor puts two and two together. His next step is to see that the duo that stays in the same locality does not encounter each other. In case the old fire is re-kindled. Like a Chess player, Ajay plans his strategy and game of deception. ‘Asai’ style. Making Murali seem like a villain but little Ashwak has met Roja earlier and shared a friendly rapport with her. There are the scenes where Roja comes to see Ashwak, and Murali had just gone out; or she leaves and he just enters. Missing each other every time. Ashwak realises that only Roja could make his father happy. Together with Chinny Jayant (who suddenly enters the scene after disappearing for quite a while) plans a ruse to get Roja and Murali face to face. As Ajay’s case looks more and more hopeless, the man who was so suave and sensible earlier, himself seems to be in need of some psychiatric advice! He starts acting like a psycho, kidnaps Ashwak and demands his pound of flesh from Roja. And Murali does a rescue act, getting his first fight scene in the film. Roja is told that Murali was still a virgin.

Pannerselvam’s camera gives a lush look to the frames. Deva’s tunes are lively, though they remind one of the film ‘Vaali’. Ooty has an interesting first half and a very slow paced second half. Murali performs the role of the despondent lover with conviction. Hasn’t he performed similar roles a hundred times before? Roja looks fetching. Ajay (a model) in his debut role shows promise. Actor Suresh’s voice sits well on him. But the character lets him down towards the end. Stealing the scene from right under the eyes of the seniors is little Ashwak.