A small-time hooligan hired to kill a girl and an aspiring movie actor find themselves in the wrong place due to a mix-up. Now, the gangster who ordered the hit is after all the three of them.
For director Vishnu Vardhan, Yatchan is, in a way, a return to his small-scale roots. There is a whiff of the cheerfulness we saw in his breakthrough hit Arindhum Ariyamalum, though this film finds it hard to seamlessly balance the tone, swinging from serious to seriously spoofy in a matter of minutes. The plot, based on a serialized story of writers Suba, is pure pulp — there's the menace of murder, the glamour of movies, comedy and even ESP.
The film begins with a back story for one of the heroines. Shwetha is struck by lighting in her childhood, which gives her the ability to see "paranormal experiences of visuals beyond time". It then intercuts with the stories of the two heroes. Chinna is a small-time gangster in Thoothukudi, while Karthikeyan is a wannabe actor in Pazhani. Circumstances force them to land in Chennai. Karthi manages to be selected as the star for a movie while Chinna is hired for a "low-budget killing" of Shwetha, who has realized through her 'power' that Vetri, a bigshot and an aspiring politician, has murdered his brother. However, a mix-up results in the two heroes finding themselves in the wrong place. With the hit screwed up, Vetri is now after Karthi and Chinna as well.
Yatchan's failing is that despite moments that click, it fails to come together as a whole. The wildness of the tone makes it hard for us to take things seriously or care for the characters. The film spends too much time setting up the moment when the heroes switch places and lacks a sense of urgency that such films need. The ESP angle doesn't really add anything to the film. We would have believed even if we had been told that it was just instinct that made Shwetha smell something fishy about Vetri. And Vishnu Vardhan has made a poor casting decision by going for Adil Hussain who looks completely unconvincing and uncomfortable as Vetri. Where we need menace, we see only fake moustache and poor lip sync. This is why even the climactic twist, involving another switch, doesn't have the impact that it should have.
That said, Yatchan is never boring even though it is not film that could be recommended as essential viewing. And it is technically terrific. The interesting frames and the colour schemes that cinematographer Om Prakash uses ensure that the visuals are arresting. He is complemented by composer Yuvan Shankar Raja who pitches in with a buoyant score and boisterous songs. The film oozes cool and we find it difficult to take our eyes off the screen even when the scene isn't emotionally involving. Also, the lighter scenes mostly work. Krishna gets the perfect role for his exaggerated acting style and the actor is a lively presence here. His scenes with Swathi are cheeky and fresh. And RJ Balaji pitches in with a scene-stealing performance with a character which starts out as a mere add-on but later becomes one of the highlights of the film.