Cut to a middle-class apartment in Chennai. Prabhu’s voiceover introduces you to the brave and righteous retired police officer, Chellappa Pandian (Sathyaraj). A fatal encounter has resulted in an amputated leg, the reason why he works in the Crimes Record Bureau. Pandian is a fiery idealist, a patriot, and a man of steel among other things.
Like he tells his friend one day – a nice cameo by KS Ravi kumar – “to get stars on your uniform, you need to be a real star.”
Pandian is also a representative of the average celluloid appa. Like Kireedom’s Rajarajan. An idealist (and selfish) dad, who hopes to see his son fulfil all his pipe dreams. But then, the son is not Kireedom’s Shakthivel. You immediately realise that. A scene at a bank shows a strapping young man going down on his knees for a promotion. He’s Murali Pandian, an aspiring bank manager, who would love to be anything but a police officer. He’s a kind young man, though – someone who lets his father believe that the aspirations they share are mutual.
As with every hero, Murali has a sidekick – an exasperating Sathish. And for reasons best known only to the director, he lets Murali and his friend embark on a pilgrimage alongside senior citizens. And (as fate would have it), a really sober Kovai Sarala is accompanied by her pretty granddaughter (Monal Gajjar). A flight turbulence results in a kiss and the banal love story is accompanied by a more tepid duet.
All this notwithstanding, a case surrounding an ATM robbery runs on a parallel track: a pair of masked men, some chase, some tension – and the result – a lacklustre thriller.
Apart from being a handy manual on executing an intricate ATM robbery, right from ATM skimming to forging cards, there’s nothing exhilarating about director Gaurav’s second venture (the first being Thoonga Nagaram). Neither does the chase excite you, nor does the execution – everything seems pre-meditated and predictable. The villains try to look menacing; one has kohl-lined eyes, and at some point, they say – “maro saley ko” – just to reassure you that they are from an orphanage in Mumbai.
The scenes involving Murali Pandian’s induction into the police force lack credibility. Can you succeed without passion and commitment in a post as significant as this? It doesn’t come overnight, and certainly not in a fit of indignation. Also, some of the scenes that try to evoke laughter are woeful, to put it mildly. Imman’s music is ordinary, except for a soothing Jesudas rendition, Anbulla Appa.
Vikram Prabhu as Murali Pandian looks stiff and cagey: be it as the son, the lover or even the police officer. Expressions simply don’t flit across this young man’s face easily. In sharp contrast though, Sathyaraj as Chellappa Pandian is vintage stuff; bringing together the emotional turbulence of a wounded policeman, a proud dad and a duty bound citizen with effortless grace.
Thank god for him.
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