An insomniac theatre usher is given a pill that will not only put him to sleep but make his dreams so vivid that they will feel real. In his dream, he is a popular film star. But soon, the real world and dream world spill over into one another...
is an avant-garde thriller that is not afraid to tease us with its fractured narrative, a heartfelt tribute to movies, a meditation on our lives and our dreams, and a traditional romantic film. And, if you are the kind of person who is into celebrity trivia, you will also find meta narrative here (a romance between two actors that starts off well and then sours) because the lead is played by Siddharth. This is quite evident in a press meet scene where his character has an outburst after he is grilled on his personal life.
The story revolves around Vicky, an usher in a rundown single screen theatre, who pops a pill that he is told will put him to sleep and make his dreams feel real. Vicky begins to dream that he is a film star, Vignesh. Characters from Vicky's world also find a place in Vignesh's world. Divya, the pizza waitress he loves, becomes Divya, an upcoming model-actress with whom he gets into a relationship. His caring theatre owner Durai becomes Vignesh's trusted manager. Then, there is a loan shark and his men who become gangsters in the dream. The director visually differentiates the two worlds by showing us Vicky's life in colour and Vignesh's in black and white (it's a dream!). There is also a track involving Vignesh in coma and an investigation into his state, which centres around the mystery pill Lucia, which is what Vicky takes! And then, there is a twist in the tale that makes us reevaluate everything that we have seen till then and question what is real and what isn't.
The film is a remake of Pawan Kumar's Kannada film
, a mindtrip of a movie. This film doesn't quite capture that film's ambitiousness and visual pizzazz but still makes for a solid effort, especially for a debut film. The track involving the cops was better integrated into the plot in the original and the performances, especially of the supporting characters, lack the effortlessness of those in the original. You only have to look at John Vijay, who goes over-the-top even by his standards, to realize what is missing here. Siddharth as the usher Vicky takes some time to get used, especially because he is a good-looker and his effort to go de-glam (with a painted face) makes it somewhat of a studied performance. But the unassuming personality of the character is hard to ignore. In contrast, he comes off better as Vicky, the film star, where smugness is an asset, though the scene in which he opens up during an interview is moving. Still, Sathish Ninasam, in the Kannada film, was more believable, and we keep wondering what someone like Dhanush would have done with this role. Deepa Sannidhi (who looks like Samantha in certain angles and only reinforces the meta angle) has girl-next-door looks that both her characters demand but the costumes are too Gautham Menon-chic for a middleclass girl who works as a waitress at a pizza outlet.
Santhosh Narayanan's affecting score and the uncanny sound design (by Vishnu Govind and Sree Sankar) make up for the lack of energy in some of the scenes. This is true especially for the scenes in the first half, which feel aseptic and do not seem to breathe life. It is as if the director and editor had what they needed but couldn't find the correct beat. But, in the second half, the film settles down and grows a heart that starts beating faster and faster as the film progresses towards the climax, and when it ends, it envelopes us with warmth that is genuine and well-earned.