When it comes to the suspense thriller genre, it is almost like walking on thin ice. It takes only one incapable hand to ruin an entire film. Whether its the director, the music director or the cinematographer. But when you have the talented Myshkin at the helm, you can rest assured that the film is in good hands. For the director that brought Anjaathey and Nandhalala, Yuddham Sei is his latest attempt with actor-director Cheran in the lead. An already hyped film with Rajnikanth heaping laurels on it, it brings Neetu Chandra as the latest yellow sari item girl with AGS Productions aiming for a hat trick after Madrasapattinam and Bhale Pandiya. But does it work? Read on to find out.
The movie begins with plain cardboard boxes being found in various public places with amputated limbs inside them. With the media frenzy heightening as each box is found and no clue on who is doing it, the case goes to the Crime Branch of Central Investigation Department. For the Deputy Commissioner [Nareyn] his best man JK [Cheran] is the agent to solve this gruesome case. However for JK, the case that plagues his mind is that of his missing sister’s. Only after he gets assurance he can reopen his sister’s case from the Deputy does he reluctantly take the case. As horrific as the evidence is, JK slowly pieces the puzzle together and finds there is much more than meets the eye. Each victim that has gone missing with only their limbs being found is linked to another case involving a Dr Purushothaman [Y.G.Mahendran] and his family’s collective suicide. On one side there are the cases of corruption and sexual assault against Dr Purushothaman and his wife respectively that were never proven, on the other side those surrounding them say they were honest and compassionate people. But before he can unravel the link between the Purushothamans case and the limbs, a shocking piece of evidence comes to light. Not just about Dr. Purushothaman but about his missing sister as well. It’s now or never for JK who has to solve the case before the body count increases but can he control the demon inside? Will the observer become the hunter? For this you will have to see the film.
First of all I will be honest. This is not the type of film that a family can sit and watch. It’s not aimless and it sure as hell isn’t brainless. Myshkin has made it clear from the outset there is very minimal “filmy” antics to be seen so if you’re expecting something glamourised, I suggest you watch a different film. Yuddham Sei is what I call a classic who done it film with more life-like appearances than TFI is used to. Straight to the point, Myshkin doesn’t dawdle on who to follow and at the same, he doesn’t make it too hard for the average movie watcher to understand. Kudos to him for selecting Cheran for the lead role of JK. Personally, I found it hard to accept Cheran as an actor. He has been strictly ok thus far and I felt he clearly needed to move away from the emotional dramas he kept doing. With Yuddham Sei, he has done just that. The overacting Cheran is reserved to the only overtly emotional scene he has towards the climax. For everything else, he is practically dead-panned and firmly holds the reigns on his expression which works perfectly for his eccentric distraught character. But thats not to say he is wooden in his emotion. Where its necessary the actor shows urgency, frustration, and anxiety. Honest and real, this has to be Cheran’s best performance yet. Deepa Shah and Yugendran as his subordinates play their part but it is Cheran that drives the film. The two newcomers try their best within their limited roles. Jayaprakash has come around again with a surprise role of Judas, the witty and intelligent medical examiner that is constantly on the drink. The man has a knack of making you erase from memory all his previous roles and gives a fresh one to remember him by. Y.G.Mahendran and Lakshmi Ramakrishnan have never been seen like this before and I expect they won’t again. The two of them breathe life into their characters and are sure to surprise you. Nareyn as the hot-headed Deputy is apt as is Manikkam Vinayagam for the sleazy Duraipandi. The actors that play Tirisangu and Issaki Muthu deserve special mention for their natural act as well but I wasn’t able to find out their names, sorry.
The main man worth all the credit this film receives is Myshkin. The real life circumstances, insertion of detail without blurring the image, the unsaid statements are just a few strokes of his trademark style. At the same time, the director understands where some issues need to be brought in an acceptable package and manipulates the audience in the gory parts instead of blunt imagery. To top if off, whilst understanding this is a film, the question he poses to the audience is both relevant for them and necessary to understand the proceedings. Cinematography by Sathya and music/background score by K are as close to the lifeline as possible for this film. At no point do either of the them step over their ground nor do they underplay it. Each frame is creative yet holds its intensity and the music makes sure to keep the audience on edge. Keeping them into an effective sequence is the editing by Gagin. With small sentences and visual imagery to answer questions that may rise, the dialogue sometimes doesn't have a job but where its used, it is sharp and crisp yet remaining true to the character way of communication. As they all do there part, they successfully work as a team to point you in the direction of the narrative as planned with no pushing or shoving necessary.
So where does an exceptional film like this falter? The same place that he scores marks. Yes the unsaid statements in form of imagery work for the film but at times it takes a second view to decipher. Some logics also, even after the movie is over, leave one confused since it goes against the narrative. But the biggest blunder I feel is the insertion of the one and only full song in the film. Yes, Neetu Chandra is gorgeous as the next one to wear a yellow sari for the item number that comes up without fail in Myshkin’s film, but her and Ameer’s dancing routine sticks out like a sore thumb. Some may say that it works in the narrative but with such a gripping screenplay in hand, why Myshkin felt this item song was needed, I really don’t know.
Rating: 4/5 – Gripping and hard hitting, Myshkin is back with his own kicking material. And loads of it.