The fact that this film is a critical and financial flop, is saddening, as this was easily one of the rare genuinely "good" Tamil films. With beautiful visuals, fairly good performances, a story with emotion and themes, beautiful music provided by A.R.Rahman, and essentially actually quite innovative, as far as Tamil cinema goes. Mani Ratnam makes commentaries on religion, particularly Christianity, and does a modern adaptation of Jesus Christ along the way. The characters all feel like genuine people (a rarity for Tamil Cinema), and thus, there was actual emotional investment. The romance aspect genuinely worked. I particularily admired one scene where there was jazz music to indian dance, while a boy sings about why a girl is messing with him and BOY did it work! When you sit back and look at the film, it's basically a large masala-like story being jammed into a small and poor location and, it sure does work, how? Mani Ratnam. There were some scenes that were just so gracefully done, that you could feel that you are viewing the film of a man who genuinely has an appreciation for the art of cinema. Ratnam does a fine job at displaying accurately how these villagers lives are and he actually explores categories, I don't think I've ever seen a tamil film do! Of course, there are flaws, like the fact that there were parts where A.R.Rahmans music was so loud that parts of the dialogue were hard to hear, the story could have gone in a much more unconventional route, there were 2 INCREDIBLY silly scenes involving some techno music and bad people being bad, the tonal shifts were a bit irksome(not as bad as the tonal shifts for most Tamil films though), and the film kind of loses itself in the last quarter. Never the less, it's a good movie but it seems Tamil Cinema is not ready for such things...oh well.