Balaji Shaktivel proves once again that he is quite a master at portraying stark realities. He picks real-life incidents and weaves an interesting story around them. Though the plot is not completely fresh if simply broken down and re-arranged in a linear fashion, but he very intelligently narrates the story with respect to two perspectives. The plain juxtaposition of two completely different worlds brings alive the starkness pretty well and thats where the film scores.
The film begins on a vague note where all you make out is that a poor girl is admitted into a government hospital and that it is case of police interrogation. Velu, a helper at a roadside eatery, is summoned and his story and his story begins there. Velu who comes to town after many personal miseries works at a roadside eatery. He falls for Jothi a girl who works as a domestic help in an affluent apartment complex and waits for an opportune moment to profess his love for her. This is when he is summoned for interrogation. A parallel story is that of Dinesh, a rich spoilt kid of an influential school correspondent who takes great pride in his perverted conquests with women and his latest victim is Aarthi, his neighbour, an impressionable teenager. He befriends her only to videograph her private moments in his mobile phone and share them with his friends. When she learns of his true intentions and ignores him, he goes all out avenge his defeat. Jothi and Velu get caught in the crossfire. What follows is power play playing havoc in the lives of innocent people, but truth prevails to an extent in the end amidst irreparable damages.
The film has a documentary like beginning but the first half slowly gobbles up the viewer with its evenly paced narration and great performances. Many lump-in-the-throat moments make you eagerly await the second half. The story starts meandering a little in the second half and the performances do fall short a wee bit. That little predictability and filminess in the end do seem like a mismatch to the great build-up of the first half. The consistent visual treatment and the avoidance of unnecessary songs add great value.
It is an ensemble of fresh faces that touches a good chord through their performances. Sri as Velu excels as the nave good hearted Velu. Urmila Mahantha puts in an impressive performance as the silent but strong Jothi. Mithun Murali looks too sweet to play a bad boy but is not a bad performer. Manisha Yadav as Aarthi is the only aberration in the casting. She struggles to look natural and get her lines right. The supporting actors who play the roles of the corrupt inspector (Kumaravel), the golden hearted prostitute, Velus side-kick who aspires to be an actor, the faceless minister, etc, put in bravura performances as well.
Vijay Miltons camera work Gopi Krishnas editing and Prasannas background score provide great support in elevating the quality of narration. It is a sincere effort from one and all. Kudos to Lingusamy (producer) for supporting this venture.
Balaji Shaktivel is now completely aware of his strength and deserves a big round of applause for ably tapping his own potential.