Ram (Shaam) and Lizzy (Poonam) lead a happy life with their son Gautham (Vivedan). On the boy's sixth birthday, they take him out to the beach where he goes missing. Ram begins a long hunt for his son, which takes him all over the country and drives him to the depths of despair. Will there be redemption in the end?
The plot of
6 Melugu Vathigal
is very similar to that of the hardly-seen
(directed by J suresh), which released last December. Both the movies are about a child going missing, and the efforts of a relative trying to track him down. While it was the uncle in the latter, here, it is the father, who goes on a countrywide search, looking for his son. While Suresh's film was a clumsy attempt to shed some light on the kidnapping mafia that exists in our country, Dhorai manages to do better. He gives us characters to care about and the villains, though broadly written, are a motley bunch — a scout, a pimp, a contractor, a butcher, an effeminate (Malayalam actor Anil Murali is a welcome introduction) and so on — who are effectively terrifying.
Ram leads a happy life with his wife Lizzy and son Gautham. On his sixth birthday, the boy goes missing, and Ram goes on a seemingly futile search to get him back. Aided by a sympathetic car driver Rangan (Munnar Ramesh), Ram tracks the boy to a kidnapping cartel and his search takes him all over the country and drives him to the depths of despair.
This is a sincerely made film that tries to ride on its lead performance. Shaam's physical transformation for this role is astounding, but his range, when it comes to expressing emotions as a performer seems to be somewhat limited. This is a performance that convincingly shows the external actions of the character but doesn't really convey his inner turmoil. For instance, in one particular moment, Ram breaks down after finding his son's shirt, and realizes that he has missed his son by a whisker because of his foolish heroic act in helping a kidnapped girl. He starts to cry inconsolably and while we get his grief, we do not feel the character's guilt. It doesn't help that there is exposition in the form of dialogues that have been added during the dubbing.
Dhorai sidelines the wife after the initial scenes, and it would have made greater impact if a little bit of her feelings had been shown, especially since it was her distraction that led to Gautham going missing. She does resurface for a scene later in the film, telling her husband that she will bear him as many children as he wants and begging him to give up the search and return home, as she cannot afford to lose him as well.
That Ram manages to survive not one but over half-a-dozen nasty individuals in as many cities without any help from the police feels quite implausible given that we are shown that he is just an ordinary family man, but the biggest irritant, though, is the insistent background score (by srikanth Deva), which never leaves any room for silence or introspection, often overpowering and turning the already dramatic scenes louder.
Nevertheless, despite the flaws, the plot keeps tugging along, managing to keep us always involved about the fate of the missing lad. It is also a film which shows that some thought has gone into the making of the film. When Ranga agrees to accompany Ram, initially, it seems slightly implausible as you wonder why a driver should abandon his work and family to help an almost stranger for a simple act of kindness. But when we finally learn of his role in the kidnapping, his actions feel justified and it makes the character believable.