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{mosimage}2003 - Manasinde kilivadhil ariyathe thurannoru mazhavil chirakulla kavithe.. nee ende kasthurimaan kurumbu... (A rainbow that stealthily opened my heart... you are my small "Kasthuri" deer.) When Kunchacko Boban wooed Meera Jasmine under the aegis of Lohitadas, little did he realise that he is lipsynching to one of the immortal romantic saga on the celluloid. Around 2005, same Lohitadas, Meera Jasmine and "Five Star" Prasanna are trying to recreate the same magic this time on Tamil screen. How much they will succeed? That only time will say but this is a time to look at the original.

{tab=Page 1}"Kasthuriman" - a musk deer is one of the apt titles for this story. It is all about an young girl Priyamvadha (Meera Jasmine) who takes life as it comes despite all her problems in family and overcomes with a confidence and imparting the same to her soulmate Sajan Joseph Alukkas (Kunchacko Boban) whose moral is at all time low due to his family business' bankruptacy. Initially Meera goes between Kunchacko and her friend Sandra as a love broker and when she finds out that his family is in dilipiated state, her friend shuns him away. Kunchacko hates to have Meera Jasmine's sympathy and when he finds out that she is also in a similiar state, working as house maid in evenings for her studies, he admires her and slowly falls in love. She blows up all her bank account to help him in attending the IAS coaching class and by the time situation ripens, there is a twist in the tale when Meera ends up in jail for a murder.

{mosimage}It is a Meera Jasmine's show all the way, cleverly crafted and packaged by her mentor Lohitadas to showcase the acting calibre of Meera Jasmine. I am very much biased towards Meera Jasmine so don't be surprised if most of this coloum is taken up for her only. Kerala media cried that after Manju Warrier there was a dearth of a talented and overpowering debutante. Meera Jasmine was the answer for all those prayers who believed on scripts with strong female protagonists & sheer acting prowess. When Lohitadas opined that his protege Meera Jasmine is more versatile than Manju Warrier, the whole of press laughed at it. "Kasthuriman" & National Award silenced her critics bringing a dignity to her acting career.

Coming to "Kasthuriman", even though it is a sensitive movie that rides on the shoulder of Meera Jasmine, I feel it worked only because of Meera Jasmine's charismatic presence, that elevated the ordinary story above the higher standards. There are many loopholes in the story that could have been conspiscous if Meera Jasmine hadn't carried off the histronics deftly. When you watch Meera Jasmine portraying Priyamvadha's emotional trials, you tend to overlook those peccadiloes. But leave out all the logical reasonings, just sit back and watch the talented torpedo sweeping the screen. Meera Jasmine was not only a magic on the college scenes with bubbling energy, a soothing breeze on romantic scenes, but also had a pefect timing in comedy scenes as well as punch dialogue delivery. This is "THE" that movie catapulted Meera Jasmine to the league of veterans in Malayalam and it is rumoured that Maniratnam signed her for his "AyuthaEzhutthu" only after seeing this movie.

{tab=Page 2}{mosimage}Kunchacko Boban underplays his role that Meera Jasmine sparkles at her part. The onscreen chemistry between Kunchacko Boban and Meera Jasmine was so terrific and perfect that they looked like real lovers. I remember the scene where Meera Jasmine was sitting on her scooter, Kunchacko Boban subtly conveys his love to her and she gracefully slides on his arms with tears. It was one of the most beautiful romantic scenes I had ever seen. Kunchacko manages to hold himself against the Meera Jasmine wave, that he walks off with the sympathy towards the end.

Supporting cast by Diana Menon as Meera Jasmine's sister and Cochin Hanifa as Meera Jasmine's guardian was apt and stays in your mind after leaving from the theatre.

Music by Ousepachan made this movie a musical. Songs like "One plus one..." that celebrated love is my pick of the whole album. "Azhage Kanmaniye.." that followed Kunchacko Boban proposing to Meera Jasmine was a nice melody number. Female solo "Karkuzhali.." was simply touching, while college song "Rakkuyil paadi.." that had interludes from "Mozart tune" and semi classical rendition by Chitra was beautiful. This is one of my all time favourite Malayalam album.

{mosimage}How natural will be the Tamil version is something uncertain. Malayalam directors when remaking in Tamil tend to go overboard of being bit loud keeping Tamil audience's "taste" in mind. Kamal's "Niram" remade in Tamil as "Piriyatha Varam Vendum" helmed by the same Kamal in Tamil was a classical example for this. The Malayalam version was very subtle and natural while the Tamil version saw everybody talking loud and exaggerated. So is Priyadarsan's louder adaptation of malayalam "Summer In Bethelehem" as noisy "Lesa Lesa". Hope Lohitadas had extracted the best out his lead players in Tamil version with more subtle and restrained performances.

Meera Jasmine had taken a big risk in her life by producing this movie. Infact her decision to produce this movie had distanced her off from her family. This movie won't do well until it manages to attract female audiences to the theatres. Keeping the reputation of Meera Jasmine among the youth audiences, the movie might break even. {/tabs}