Krishna comes to Mumbai in search of his brother Raju, who, he learns, paid a price for choosing to be a gangster. Unperturbed, he continues in his search. Does he find Raju and what's the mystery behind his disappearance?
When a film announces loud and clear all that it wants to do is be in service of its hero, and make him as larger than life as possible, we accept it and all that we expect from it is to entertain us. But when it takes almost three hours to narrate its all-too familiar story with easily predictable twists and underwritten characters in a non-engaging fashion, it becomes a painful watch. And,
is just that.
The film begins with a secretive Krishna coming to Mumbai to locate his brother. He visits a few places where his brother's acquaintances could be found and learns that his brother Raju is Raju Bhai to the people of the city. Raju and his friend Chandru had been gangsters with growing clout but earn the wrath of Imran Bhai, an underworld don. When Krishna persists in knowing how his brother had gone missing, he manages to catch the attention of his brother's enemies. Can he tackle them and get to the bottom of the mystery?
basically revolves around a couple of plot twists — one, a big reveal around the interval point and another before the climax. But the way the film is structured to lead to these twists is underwhelming. Given that he wants to keep the big bang at the half way mark, director Lingusamy fills the first half with scenes that follow a predictable format — a scene in the 'now' involving Krishna, then a 'heroic' segment with Raju Bhai followed by a lighter (read romantic) one, then a song, then repeat. This would not have been a problem if the film had taken a different approach after the interval. But the post-interval portions too stick to this same format till the final twist, making scenes seem repetitive and uninteresting. Nothing highlights this indulgent filmmaking better than a segment where Krishna goes into a reverie; we get an unfunny comedy track involving Raju, his lover Jeeva (Samantha does what heroines in these movies are expected to do — fall madly in love with the hero even when she knows he is a gangster), Chandru and Brahmanandam, which then leads to a pointlessly lengthy dance to a medley of Hindi songs and then ends in a mawkish scene highlighting the friendship between Jeeva and Chandru.
The film would have at least been bearable if it had taken only two hours to narrate the same plot, which often feels like an uninspiring retread of previous films — there's the
-like build-up to Raju Bhai, a transformation scene brings to mind
, a stunt sequence in a ruin recalls a shootout in
and the suited and booted gangsters are an obvious reference to
(the newer one). There's also a nod to the director's own film
, when a character calls for the gate to be shut.
The tone, too, is uneven. On one hand, it wants us to be involved in Raju Bhai and the mystery around him, but then keeps making him do things that are silly — like, taking Jeeva to a movie, dancing on the street and so on. And, for all the facade, both Suriya and Vidyut (who doesn't create an impression in Abhinay's voice), with their stylish clothes, hairstyles and carefully-toned physiques, seem like models posing as gangsters. In contrast, Manoj Bajpayee, who, despite the bad lip-sync and stereotypical performance, makes you believe that he could be an underworld don running an empire on his own.
Strangely, for a film that wants to send its star's fans crazy with his punchlines, the real punchline is delivered not by Raju Bhai but by another character —
Kooda nikkara drogatha dhaana paakara, visuvasatha paakalaye
What's also intriguing is the 'U' rating. Shots are fired at people at point blank range, knives and other sharp objects are thrust into bodies which spew blood, sleaze gets its due with item songs, skimpy clothes and a gratuitous shot of a blouse being unhooked, and yet the film gets a 'clean' tag from the censor board!