It is not often that Mani Ratnam comes across as pretentious (excess elucidation of the under current). Raavan was one such, and with this one I'll just rationalize it as part of an uninspired patch in his life, happens to the best of them.
Sam (Arvind Swamy) joins a brotherhood of priests in spite of coming from money. Berchmans (Arjun), who is better versed with The Bible has his family to support and says it's just a part of life before the devil in him is unveiled.
Sam's belief in the faith for peace is a complete contrast to Berchmans, who says it is much easier to bring out the devil. Caught breaking the vow of celibacy Berchmans is sent away from the convent and he leaves challenging victory over good (Sam) one day. In comes the story of Thomas (Gautham Kathik), the son of a village whore who believes Kitti (Ponnavan) is his dad since he happened to be the customer that discovers she's dead and takes care of the burial. Thomas grows up in the fishing community, constantly hated and pushed around because of his mother's disrepute. The boy inculcates violence as a survival instinct.
Sam comes to this fishing village as the new father of the parish. After some initial hostility with the young and frustrated Thomas, he ends up as his guardian in the process of saving the orphan from the world and his inner demons.
Years later...Berchmans washes up on the shores with bullet wounds, Sam saves him and takes care of him. Berchmans aka Meesala Dora is a criminal millionaire by now and all he's waiting for is victory over Sam. And what better way to win it than to bring out the devil in Thomas, Sam's prized son of God. The love story sub-plot involves Beatrice (Thulasi Nair), a clean hearted girl (the angel figure) who is kind of a medical genius but has the emotional maturity of a 10 year old.
Colours and sounds
Except for the first few minutes of some decent drama where the good vs. evil is set up, the rest of the film is the colours and the sounds (Menon and Rahman) trying to make up for the lack of an engaging screenplay and actors who need the camera to swoosh all over the place to make their performances moderately appealing.
Ponnavan and the comeback of Arvind Swamy were the only bright points of the cast. The two leading debutants remind us of many graceless debuts and these are a strain. Adding to the strain is Arjun, as klutzy as the new kids.
Technical grandeur with no substance. And prolonged.