There are films whose twists in the script make them unpredictable and interesting and there are films that have one twist too many and end up exasperating us. Yaagavarayinum Naa Kaakka (YNK) belongs in the latter category. The film begins in the past — January 1, 2015, to be specific — with a grieviously injured young woman and man being dragged across the floor by a mystery person. We do not see the faces of all three characters. Then, the film cuts to the present where Saga (Aadhi) lands up in Mumbai. His face shows wounds and in the voice-over, he tells us that he is on a dangerous mission. We see him buying a gun and going after Mudaliar (Mithun Chakraborty, acquiting himself well in his first appearance in Tamil films), a feared gangster. We think that this is going to be a Gajini-style revenge saga but then, Saga stars telling us how he ended up in this situation.
We see his three friends — Shiva, Rajesh and Kishore — all of whom are from rich and powerful families. Saga's is a middleclass household and he is often scolded by his father and pampered by his mother. There is also Kayal (Nikki Galrani), the intrepid young girl who loves Saga. Everything is going smoothly until New Year's night, when one of his friends starts harassing Priya (Richa Pallod), a girl out on a date in a hotel. The cops do not take action because the boys' families are highly-placed but what no one realizes who Priya is. She is the daughter of the powerful Mudaliar and vows to have them murdered in the next 24 hours. And then, she goes missing and his friends have all gone into hiding. Thus, Saga becomes a target of Priya's brother Guna. Now, Saga must use every amount of courage to save himself and his friends.
Up until its final twist, YNK is a competently made action drama and debutant director Sathya Prabhas manages to keep us guessing on what will happen next. He gives us an involving plot, relatable characters, a romantic track that even when it feels implausible and over-long remains cute and brings a smile, and a mystery to keep us hooked. Yes, too much of screen time is wasted on this set-up and the plot essentially kicks in only in the second half, but we do not feel bored in these segments. And the manner in which the conflict arises is also interesting — it is the hero's friends and the hero himself who are at fault and invite trouble upon themselves, so we don't exactly root for them.
The unnecessary twist in the end, however, completely undoes everything that was good until then. From a gangster drama, the film turns into a psycho killer movie and just when we think the end is in sight, it becomes a mindless splatterfest that is funny for all the wrong reasons. The attempt to glorify friendship at all cost feels pathetic and when we see Saga willing to lay down his life for his friends, the foremost question on our minds is why he doesn't even half as much for his own family, whom he had put in terrible danger. Talk about being so near and yet so far.