Pazhaya Vannarapettai Synopsis: Five friends are picked up as suspects in a political murder, and the cops detain one among them to save face in front of the media. To save him, the guy’s friend and a straightforward cop try to track down the real killer.
Pazhaya Vannarapettai Review: The first few scenes of Pazhaya Vannarapettai make us wonder if it is going to be another Visaaranai. Five students, who have just finished college, are picked up by the cops as suspects following a daring attack on two political underlings in public, which has left one of them dead. Earlier, we see a cop boasting in an interview that his team always catches or identifies culprits within 21 hours of a crime. But, this time, the cops don’t have any clue who might have committed the murder. So, to save their face, they detain of the friends, whom they know is innocent.
But this is where the film takes a different route from that of Visaaranai... and turns into another Vetri Maaran film — a Polladhavan, of sorts (the search here is for a person rather than a thing). The inspector tells the friends that he will let go of the guy if they can track down the actual criminal. So, his friend Karthik (Prajin) decides to do that with the help of Dheena (Nishanth), a small-time criminal they had befriended during their time at the police station. Meanwhile, Moorthy (Richard), the assistant commissioner, takes pity on them, and decides to investigate the case as well.
For a first-time effort, Pazhaya Vannarapettai is quite impressive. Director Mohan does a good job in establishing the milieu of the north Madras locality. He doesn’t present this story as a whodunit (which it is on the surface) but uses the plot to effectively showcase the seedy underbelly of this region. Every person or place that Karthik and Dheena visit reveals something about the locality. This is why Moorthy’s investigation comes across as a rather unremarkable one.
And, Mohan takes a long time to set up the plot, taking his own sweet time to establish the characters. The episode involving the suspects at the police station goes on and on, while Karthik’s romance feels perfunctory. Also, for a thriller, there is some melodrama that feels out of place.
Still, there is confidence in Mohan’s filmmaking and he is aided by his cinematographer Farooq, who does a terrific job capturing the nocturnal sights of north Madras so much so that it is hard to believe that the film has been made on a meagre budget.