After multiple watching of the film I last reviewed (I know its not a movie you can expose yourself to multiple times in a short time-span, but yeah, I did) I just had the idea of dusting off Arya's earlier movies. I thought his commitment to his character(not to mention the hype) in Naan Kadavul was so tremendous, it kind of overshadowed his performance itself (does not mean it was not good in any way). Therefore, I re-ran my copy of Pattiyal, one which gave him a more commanding character, atleast screen-time wise. Now I have not seen Bangkok Dangerous, so I wouldn't know about the much talked about influences and therefore you wouldn't be reading any comparative study, if there was to be any, at all.
The story deals with the life of Selva(Bharath) and Koshi(Arya), two orphaned youths, plying their trade as ruthless(putting the chill into cold-bloodedness) contract killers. In the loose unorganized network of the Chennai underworld, middle-man Sami(Cochin Hanifa) provides them with information on their targets, they go home watch a few movies for inspiration, executes the said targets clean and precise, collects their reward and goes on about their otherwise normal lives without much ambition. In the midst of all this is Sandhya(Pooja) and Saroja(Padmapriya) their respective love interests. One such day Sami agrees a deal for a hit on Nachimuthu Gounder(Santhanabharathi), a big-name in business and politics, this time around in Coimbatore. Selva wants to bring the dangerous lifestyle to an end and start moving on, and Koshi agrees that it would be their last deal, and use the big amount they are promised to mend their lives. From here it leads onto a brilliant climax letting us enjoy, the much ignored, edge of our seats.
Now the good part of reviewing a not-so-new movie is the fact that I do not have to stress if the movie is good or not. The word is out already, so all I have to do is justify it. There are so many factors that contribute to the success here. Behind the cameras, Nirav Shah deserves high praise, for the stylish but simple visuals devoid of the usual gimmicks similar movies abuse. There are no weird, head ache inducing angles(Or fast cuts and the like for that matter. Well done Sreekar Prasad(editor)). The director, Vishnuvardhan, as such has opted for the realistic approach, be it the frames, characters, their behaviour, outfits, the walk and the talk. The portrayal of the various relationships - Selva and Koshi, their friendship and trust, in a totally believable, touching yet entertaining manner; Koshi and Saroja, his rough and playfully careless demeanour about her, were well etched out and is a treat to watch, which also owes to the performances. Coming to that department, Arya was a pleasure to watch, he goes on from killer mode to the friendly, witty guy effortlessly. His performance is only outshined by Bharath, as a deaf and mute, who does splendidly to communicate with the audience(and the characters) through his facial expressions and the eyes, which spoke volumes, especially towards the closing scenes. Padmapriya's character was a cast against type, but she did well enough to get out of her usual serious/gloomy image, with a chirrupy performance. Pooja showed potential and handled her emotional scenes well. Cochin Hanifa, though in a rather negative character, provided a few laughs and was commendable overall. The music by Yuvan Shankar Raja is mostly catchy, but the background score is even better.
The Selva-Sandhya angle could have been better, but is saved by individual performances. Also the movie could have done without a few scenes, like the scene where Selva & Koshi goes to intimidate the movie actor, which was over-the-top and could have been avoided seen as there is plenty of humour filled scenes, without being over the top, throughout (Selva's interaction with the Coimbatore connects or vice versa). But then it was not made with the idea of making the perfect film, as it's not trying to contribute anything new to cinema. But what it does is, deliver a not so unique story in a refreshing, stylish package with rich contents filled with well executed scenes(no puns intended) and good performances, and successfully at that.
The movie was well received, alike by critics and audience(and torrent downloaders). The fact that Tamil cinema was on low tide, at the time, also contributed to the film's floating to the top. If you have not watched it yet, I'd recommend you hurry up and get your copy right away. If you have, it's still worth another watch. If you are a Malayalee, then definitely, while hoping Sagar Elias Jackie would be to Malayalam what Pattiyal was to Tamil, if not better.