Synopsis: A boy grows up hating his brother and becomes an aid of a local don. The don’s relative, however, hates him. Meanwhile, a cop is waiting to take down all three.
Review: In Munnodi, SPTA Kumar uses familiar angles for sub-plots to construct an action drama that could have been an engaging film if only had the writing been tighter and the performances compelling.
The story revolves around Sathya (Harish), who has been jealous since childhood that his mother (Sithara) seems to love his younger brother Aravind more. What he doesn’t know is that Aravind has a medical condition that requires constant care. He becomes friendly with Mandhiramoorthy (Arjuna), a local gangster. But Mandhiramoorthy’s brother-in-law Jayaveeran (Paavel Navageethan) hates Sathya because the former cares for Sathya, and plots to split up the two. Meanwhile, Soundarapandian (Sijoy Varghese), a newly posted cop, has set out to take down Mandhiramoorthy’s gang and lies in wait.
While the conflicts between Sathya and Aravind, Jayaveeran and Sathya, and Mandhiramoorthy and Soundarapandian are themselves full of drama, for some reason, director Kumar chooses to divert from these juicy portions and gives us an inane romantic track that involves Sathya and Denuka (Yamini), who is Aravind’s college mate. This robs the film of dramatic tension and leaves is often frustrated, especially in the first half. And the innumerable, unwarranted songs don’t help either. By wasting time on this track, Kumar ends up not fleshing out his characters and their relationships better.
The actors, too, are very artificial. Harish isn’t able to capture the internal conflicts of Sathya while the dialogue delivery of Sijoy Varghese, with its strong Malayalam accent, fails to lend authenticity to the role. Even the reliable Paavel Navageethan goes over the top. Only Arjuna manages to convey some menace.
But there are a few takeaways, like an imaginatively choreographed fight scene outside a temple, a cool shot that shows Sundarapandian’s journey to his office (the camera revolves around the moving car, and by the time it completes one revolution, it zooms back to show us the cop stepping out into his office), and an encounter operation to nab a ‘human weapon’. These and the VFX-heavy songs show that Kumar has it in him to be a competent commercial filmmaker. However, his writing lets him and his movie down.