When Anamika, the girl who he is on a date with, is kidnapped, Arjun goes to the police for help and gets into a dangerous situation from where there is no escape.
opens with a conversation in a high-end restaurant where we see Arjun Krishna (Vikram Prabhu in a role that is not so different from the one in
Ivan Vera Mathiri
) and his friends rating girls. 'Oh no, not again,' you cringe and fear what the rest of the film will be like. But then, we get a very nice meet-cute. Arjun sees Anamika (Priya Anand, just adequate), a confident young girl, in the crowd and approaches her. He woos her with a song, gets her contact and a day later, the two are off on a date — drinking and talking to their hearts' content. Anamika invites Arjun to her home for a drink and everything seems cozy (it is refreshing to see a film that doesn't make a fuss over its leads drinking). And then, Anamika is kidnapped, and her kidnappers mean business. When Arjun tries to go after them, they don't think twice about shooting at him.
All these events happen in the first 20 minutes of the film and that is when you realize that you are in the hands of a confident filmmaker. First-time director Anand Shankar packs in enough background about the two characters so that we care about them. We get why Arjun, who has known Anamika only for two days, will risk his life to save her.
The first half of the film is first rate. There is a genuine thrill in these portions that keeps us on the edge of our seats. This is also when the film feels most plausible. When Arumugham, a cop who takes up the case, saves Arjun when he is about to be shot, it doesn't seem unlikely. He is a thinking cop and MS Bhaskar plays this role in a wonderful manner; we can see the wheels in his mind turning as he goes through the details of the case. Like, when Arjun tells him the details of the car in which Anamika has been kidnapped, he pauses for a beat to process the information and only then calls the control room. Similarly, when Arjun takes on his pursuers for the first time, we are not surprised as we have seen him working out at the gym in a lighter scene. What seemed like a hero-glorification shot earlier (a close-up shot of Arjun's abs) now has context.
There is a fair bit of exposition that feels unneeded. In one scene, Arjun and Arumugan are eavesdropping on the conversation between the villains and Anamika's dad and we get why the kidnap has taken place. Yet, the director makes Arjun explain this to Arumugham, who, we know, is an intelligent cop. Such spoon-feeding should not have been there in a film that is smart enough to know what it wants to be.
The plot, in fact, is all-too familiar and resembles K Bhagyaraj's 1991 comedy thriller
the most. As in that film, here, too, there is a video of a murder that the villain, a powerful politician, wants to destroy. Both the heroines are damsels in distresses requiring the help of a hero with a presence of mind. There is even a scene of the hero committing a bank robbery (though, they are tonally very different). There are cops who are in collusion with the villain. The all-important video gets destroyed in both films. Finally, even the manner in which the hero indicts the villain is similar. However, the treatment is very Hollywoodish here.
There are scenes which show that Anand Shankar is merely taking a leaf out of Hollywood thrillers. At least two sequences in the second half — a rooftop chase sequence (adapted very well) and events at a police control room (adapted a little clumsily) — are influenced by
The Bourne Ultimatum
. 'Why am I not getting this?' asks a character, repeating a line from the earlier film. Even a musical cue that crops up at crucial moments resembles what is known as the 'Hans Zimmer horn' sound.
The film also loses some of its verve in the second half, which feels a little stretched and all over the place. And, yet, there is enough cleverness in the writing and assuredness in the execution, especially for a debut film, to make
stand apart from your usual action thrillers.