Cast: Yuvan, Akhil, Anu Krishna, Ravi Mariya
Direction: Julien Prakash
Set in 18th century near Madurai, Ilami by debutant Julien Prakash is a creditable attempt. It is a love story at the backdrop of Jallikattu, considered as the valorous sport by Tamils.
Ilami (Anu Krishna) is the only daughter of village head Veeraiya (Ravi Mariya). She is in love with Karuppu (Yuvan) from the neighboring village Mangulam. Karuppu along with his two friends hunt in the forest for their livelihood. Though both the villages appear friendly at the peripheral level, there is an enmity in Karuppu’s village towards the other over the possession of Lord Karuppu’s idol. They have taken away the idol 200 years ago and presently all the poojas and festivals are conducted under the captainship of Veeraiyan only.
Meanwhile, enters Sadapuli (Akhil), a scheming pushy young man from Mangulam who with a hidden agenda triggers off a spat between the villages over the deity. Veeraiyan agrees to give back the deity if anyone from Mangulam tames his bull (which was never tamed by anyone till then) in Vadam Jallikattu (the toughest form of ancient bull taming sport) besides offering his daughter Ilami to marry off the valorous boy. Now, Karuppu is in a fix and forced to enter the fray for his love for Ilami. The rest is all about whether Karuppu and Ilami unite in wedlock or not, with the film ending with an unexpected and arresting climax.
Yuvan and Anu have given a decent performance and are aptly cast. But wish the director could have extracted more from them. It is Akhil who started off as a hero in the film Kaloori who steals the show with his intimidating act. He does his part with a lot of conviction. Ravi Mariya in a relatively subtle role has given a good performance. Even the newbies who appear as Yuvan’s friends are impressive. Kishore is cast as the commander in Chief and helps Yuvan and co in an extended cameo. But there’s no clarity in his portions.
Julien Prakash’s enormous efforts and hard work in a period setup is evident and deserves a pat on his back for portraying the lifestyle and culture of Tamils few centuries ago. Though there’s not much of detailing, given the limited budget, Julien has made an honest attempt to make his film authentic.
Yet another positive aspect is that the director has narrated his story neatly, without much deviation and executed it well. Srikanth Deva’s music, cinematography by Yuga and art direction by John Britto aids the narration in a big way. But the graphically generated bulls are tacky. Though there are few flaws, nevertheless the film is worth a watch!