|Directed by||Andrew Louis|
|Produced by||Ramesh Babu|
|Written by||Andrew Louis|
|Music by||Satish Chakravarthy|
|Distributed by||Aascar Films|
|Release date(s)||27 April 2012|
Leelai (English: Play) is a 2012 Tamil romantic comedy film directed by Andrew Louis and produced by Ramesh Babu. It stars débutantes Shiv Pandit and Manasi Parekh in lead roles along with Santhanam and Suhasini Raju in pivotal roles. The film which began in May 2008, opened after production delays on April 27, 2012 to positive reviews.
The film begins with a trio of three friends in the college life(Malar,Mona,Gayathri). Mona falls in love with a guy Karthick(Shiv Pandit) despite the advice of Malar(Manasi Parekh Gohil) suspecting Karthick to be a flirt. When dating Mona mentions to Karthick about Malar's views about him, Karthick begins to hate Malar for interfering in his love life. When Karthick calls Mona, Malar picks the call up and he vents out his anger at her, shortly later he breaks up with Mona. Gayathri believing Mona was a wrong choice in Karthick's life and begins to date him, Malar is firmly against it. The relationship ends the same way as his previous relationship with Mona. Year or two later both work at the same software company at different floors in the same building, while trying to his call his friend in Malar's floor, he accidentally calls Malar and the two realize their identities and presence in the building and the age-old feud resumes, when both Malar and his own friend advices him to talk it over with Malar. Malar's friend questions why Karthick fights with a beautiful woman such as Malar, Karthick decides to glimpse a view at Malar. When he sees Malar he falls in love at first sight, he then tries to reconcile with Malar, but Malar is not willing to forgive a flirt such as Karthick. Karthick becomes desperate and begins to follow Malar, in a chance meeting orchestrated by Karthick he introduces himself as a sweet and kind person by the name of Sundar. Malar who has never met Karthick believes his false identity and begins to open up to Sundar, when one of his friends, Suja who works with Malar finds out about his game. Suja offers Karthick an ultimatum to reveal his true identity, once Malar declares her love for Sundar. Karthick tries to salvage his relationship with hilarious consequences. But, all said and done How Karthick reveals to Malar about his true identity and her acceptance or rejection forms the crux of the story. Vikki(Santhanam) Malar's friend provides extra comic relief to the story.
- Shiv Pandit as Karthik
- Manasi Parekh as Karunai Malar
- Santhanam as Vicky
- Suhasini Raju as Suja
- Maya as Mona
- Vibha Natarajan as Gayathri
- Lakshmi Ramakrishnan as Karthik's mother
Andrew Louis met Ravichandran and narrated the script of Leelai and two months later he agreed to produce the film. The producer subsequently moved the film on to the hands of his brother, Ramesh Babu, under the subsidiary company 'R Films', which was also making Ravi Varman's Moscowin Kavery at the time. The director selected North Indian actor Shiv Pandit in the lead role after seeing him an advertisement for a mobile phone company, Airtel. After Pandit was signed on, he practised his Tamil dialogues by reading them repeatedly and understanding the emotions and punches. He also watched a lot of Tamil films to get attuned to the culture. The female lead in the film is played by Manasi Parekh who has been part of popular shows on Television such as Star One’s India Calling and Star Plus's Gulaal. A major portion of the film was shot in the popular software company 'HCL' (Chennai Office). The song "Oru Killi" was shot at the Maheshwar Fort in Madhya Pradesh, while the other songs were shot in Goa and Puducherry respectively.
The film ran into a legal battle over its title Leelai with another film claiming it as their own. Ravichandran eventually won the case, forcing the other film to change its title from Leelai to Naan Aval Adhu. The film had been ready for release since 2010, with Shiv Pandit in between making his début in Hindi films with Shaitan. The failure of Ramesh Babu's other production Moscowin Kavery starring Rahul Ravindran and Samantha, also became a factor behind the delay.
After two years of remaining complete but unreleased, the film was given a fresh lease of life after producer Ravichandran signed a deal to distribute Billa II, dubbed in trade circles as the "hottest film of the year", and thus theatres have shown their support for his brother by giving Leelai a big release. Furthermore after the success of Oru Kal Oru Kannadi, actor Santhanam's popularity heightened with several of his films being released around the same period such as Kadhal Pisase and Vinayaga to capitalize on his market reach.
Leelai opened on April 27, 2012 alongside another Tamil film Aathi Narayana, and won predominantly positive reviews. Critics from Sify.com gave the film a positive review citing that "Leelai is an enjoyable romantic ride, laced with peppy music and good fun" adding that "the director has worked out the romantic situations and spun it around to make it entertaining". Behindwoods.com mentioned that Leelai is "a light hearted simple romantic tale...a decent family flick for the holiday season". Pavithra Srinivasan of Rediff.com noted that "it's a feel-good, simple, urban romance that has its funny moments and is worth a watch", and added that "Shiv Pandit and Manasi Parekh bring the urban Chennaiite alive - they are expressive, emote well, and nowhere do their lines sound jarring". Vivek Ramz of in.com rated the film 3/5 and noted that "Leelai is a watchable rom-com" and added "If you are game for urban romance, then Leelai is worth a watch for its simple yet realistic treatment with fun". Another critic gave the film three stars out of five, concluding "Leelai may have its drawbacks, yet it is feel-good, fun and engaging. Job well done Andrew Louis". Rohit Ramachandran of Nowrunning.com rated it 2.5/5 stating that "For the most part, Andrew Louis's Leelai is earnest in its narration and interested in its characters".
Despite positive reviews from the critics, the film managed to do average business at the box office mainly due to a complete lack of publicity and predominantly having new faces in the cast. The film also saw a delayed release due to production issues.
|Soundtrack album by Satish Chakravarthy|
|Released||August 24, 2009|
|Genre||Feature film soundtrack|
|Satish Chakravarthy chronology|
The music is composed by debutant Satish Chakravarthy, a classmate of the director, Andrew Vasanth Louis. Satish also wrote the lyrics for two of the songs. The soundtrack released on August 24, 2009, whilst the music composer later stated that he has also worked on a song for the theatrical trailer.
|2.||"Oru Killi Oru Killi Reprise"||Satish Chakravarthy|
|3.||"Jilendru Oru Kalavaram"||Satish Chakravarthy|
|4.||"Bubble Gum"||Sunitha Sarathy, Benny Dayal, Suvi|
|5.||"Unnai Partha Pinbhu"||Haricharan, Marianne|
|6.||"Oru Killi Oru Killi"||Shreya Ghoshal, Satish Chakravarthy|
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