Tamil Reviews

‘Kolaigaran’ Review: A Murder Mystery And Some Moral Grandstanding

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Director: Andrew Louis

Cast: Vijay Antony, Ashima Narwal, Arjun Sarja, Nasser and Seetha

Editor: Richard Kevin

Music: Simon K King

Andrew Louis wants to know if murder is justified under certain circumstances. And so, he has two senior police officers in Kolaigaran ask each other the same question and offer certain justifications for either stand point. These police officers are Vijay Antony as Prabhakaran, and Arjun as Karthikeyan. And, there is a murder that has brought these two head to head. Except, Prabhakaran is no longer a police officer.

*****

Kolaigaran is written and directed by Andrew Louis and produced by B Pradeep of Diya Movies. The film stars Vijay Antony, Ashima Narwal, Arjun Sarja, Nasser, Seetha and others. Kolaigaran was shot by Mukesh, and edited by Richard Kevin, and features music by Simon K King.

*****

A murder in black-and-white opens the film.

A woman screams, stumbles through her house, a killer calmly follows her. Then she dies and we cut to the biceps and shoulders of a man silhouetted against a window. He’s on the phone; at the other end, someone tells him that Prabhakaran has come to the police station.

The biceps and shoulders resolve into Karthikeyan (Arjun) who walks into the police station and asks Prabhakaran (Vijay Antony) to confess to the murder.

And so, 44 Days Ago.

The police are called out to a scene of crime. A badly burnt corpse is out in the open. Who, when, why and how are the questions Karthikeyan has to figure out.

The who and why are resolved fairly soon: Vamsi, the brother of a powerful minister in Andhra Pradesh, and someone with a reputation of being a creepy stalker. And, he died by asphyxiation, but has also sustained a fatal blow to the back of his skull. And so, Karthikeyan’s sight lands on Vamsi’s old victim – Dharini (Ashima Narwal) and her mother. But are they the killers? Are they capable of inflicting that much damage to the man and then dispose of his body in that way?

Karthikeyan’s investigation tries to reconcile these questions while also trying to answer the doubts his superiors and subordinate officers have about the case. His investigation leads him to Dharini’s neighbour Prabhakaran. Prabhakaran may not be what he seems.

There’s a bit of muscle flexing and bracelet adjusting (always this, pushing your bracelet down, if you’re a Tamil cinema hero about to kick ass. Villains might as well just curl up and fall to the ground when they see a hero with a bracelet getting off a jeep. Saves both them and us the time), some blood and gore, guns and roses, err guns and shooting, and thus we circle back to where we started. Prabhakaran confessing to his crimes. But is that true? There are more supposed red herrings and false cues, and then Karthikeyan pieces it all together and we have the end credits.

*****

The book Who Killed Roger Ackroyd by Pierre Bayard takes up the mystery of the Murder of Roger Ackroyd, written by Agatha Christie, and seeks to explain how the murderer as deduced by Hercule Poirot isn’t actually the murderer. The book goes to great lengths about why the killer couldn’t be the killer.

Kolaigaran, it seems, set out to do that. The suspects may not be all that guilty, or innocent, as the case may be. There are clues that we see, some that we don’t and some that are alluded to but not really seen. Or so, it would have seemed on paper. What gets translated on screen is a bit of moral grandstanding by the two leading men, and a lot of posturing. Each character thinks he/she knows what the other person is thinking, and then proceeds to detail it.

There are a couple of songs but why did we need them? They are competent songs, and may perhaps even be remembered two weeks later, but do we need them at all when someone is dead? And, what’s with the background score? Yes, we get it. Murder. Mystery. Intrigue. You don’t have to underline it in every scene with ominous, repetitive music.

All this is not to say that Kolaigaran wasn’t effective or watchable. It was. Just that it could have been tighter and tauter, keeping the focus on the mystery itself.

*****

The Kolaigaran review is a Silverscreen original article. It was not paid for or commissioned by anyone associated with the film. Silverscreen.in and its writers do not have any commercial relationship with movies that are reviewed on the site.

 

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