Madhumitha is convinced that she and her colleague Ashwin were lovers in their past lives and have been brought together by fate. Is there any truth to this or is she merely hallucinating?
opens, we are told that the year is 1962 and the setting Burma. Murugappan, a Tamil labourer, saves Samudra, the daughter of a rich Burmese general, at a local fair. She falls madly in love with him but her father is totally against it. But the Burmese coup d'etat takes place, and Murugappan tries to smuggle Samudra to India. However, they are betrayed by Mallika, the girl who was in love with the lad. The lovers jump off the ship but Murugappan is shot at and Samudra decides to die along with him.
The action shifts to the present and we see that these events are being narrated by Madhumitha, a game developer in Kiran's successful company (with the sinister name of Tentacles), who is undergoing regression therapy. The poster in her room is that of Aung San Suu Kyi, Samudra's classmate! Madhu says that she has come across characters from her past life and is convinced that she will also meet Murugappan in this generation. And, she does, in the form of Ashwin, a systems engineer in her own office! She starts wooing him and while he is not ready to believe in past life, develops a soft corner for her.
Meanwhile, after an accident, Madhu regresses and tells another story, of Kaali and Kalyani, set in Madras in the year 1987. Kaali is a tough guy who charms Kalyani, a Brahmin girl, with his righteousness and innocence but she is forced to agree to a wedding with Ravikiran, a business magnate. However, Kaali arrives on the wedding night and the lovers decide to elope but they are duped and murdered. And, the killer might be someone close to them in their present lives, waiting to kill them again!
Anegan is pulp done perfectly well and KV Anand and his writers SuBa outdo themselves with this tale of reincarnation and revenge. The film certainly has the feel of a pulpy crime novel, which the writers are known for.
Dhanush is in terrific form here and just as he did in
, the actor effortlessly makes Murugappan/Ashwin/Kaali seem both heroic and credible characters. It is hard to think of any other contemporary actor who could have pulled off the physical and emotional aspects of all these roles this convincingly. If he is effective as the scrawny labourer Murugappan and totally looks the part, he is very much relatable as Ashwin, the "middle class" systems guy. But the real scene-stealer is Kaali, the ruffian with a heart of gold. The shading he gives the character makes Kaali (who also gets to dance to the rousing
) stand out from the similar rough-and-tough Karuppu of
and the titular character of
. The only place where he feels out-of-place is the brief role of Ilamaran, as his lanky frame doesn't go well with the princely costume.
Amyra, in her Tamil film debut, gets a meaty role, and while, as Samudra and Kalyani, she's just another pretty girl falling for charming men below her social stature, as the perplexed Madhu, she is quite convincing. Karthik, who is rather subdued in the initial portions, lets loose in the climax and makes you understand why the character does what he does.
Anand has never been a filmmaker who holds himself and here, he keeps throwing various elements at us — reincarnation, past life regression, illegal drugs, military coups, ghosts, underground video games, murder, mystery, red herrings and a handful of accidents (involving a giant wheel, a lift, a car, a lorry). But, unlike
, which went off the rails after a promising first half, here, everything works and in gloriously fashion. He also displays a playful, lighter touch here, so we easily buy into the preposterousness of the plot. And despite the chaotic plot, there is clarity in the storytelling. There are traces of
, but these are mainly due to the reincarnation theme. The individual love stories seem a bit routine and the third act does become a little predictable and the moment when Ashwin, too, realizes his past is feels rushed and lacks impact, but even here, Anand ensures that we get those mass moments — like the scene where Dhanush brings the house down in the scene where he mimics and mocks Karthik and the way the villain is killed.
is pure camp but also a hugely entertaining one.