`Onayum Aatukuttiyum` review: Edge-of-the-seat tale of redemption
A man lying on the road in the middle of the night is critically injured by a bullet shot. He is drenched in a pool of blood. Bystanders look at him and even sympathise, but nobody cares to give him medical attention. This is how Mysskin mocks at the society we live in the opening scene of his film ‘Onayum Aatukuttiyum’ (OA), which revolves around a gangster trying to redeem his wrongdoings.
A final year medical student (Chandru) attends to a man on the brink of death. Chandru takes him to a hospital in the middle of the night, but is denied admittance because he has been shot and the case calls for police inquiry. Chandru takes to him to the nearest police station to file a complaint, but since the inspector is on patrol, he is asked to wait.
Knowing that waiting at the police station might not help the injured man, who needs immediate medical attention, Chandru brings him home. He performs a minor surgery and removes the bullet and saves his life. The next morning, officers from the crime branch take Chandru into custody for performing a surgery on a most wanted criminal and help him flee.
The man who was saved by Chandru is a most wanted paid killer named Wolf, who has so far murdered 14 individuals, including a blind teenage kid. To clear his name from police records, Chandru is forced to help the police nab Wolf. In essence, he should kill Wolf when he will come to thank him for saving his life. But the plan of police turns topsy-turvy when Wolf takes Chandru hostage and what ensues is an edge-of-the-seat manhunt through one night.
OA arrives sans fanfare, but it sweeps you off your feet with an engrossing narrative, told mostly through one night. For all those who have been tired of watching mindless Tamil comedies in the last few months, OA is a welcome change. With OA, Mysskin returns strongly to doing what he is always regarded a master at. OA is also a perfect follow up to his disastrous last release ‘Mugamoodi’.
The film is a thriller and the tension in it is accentuated with the help of Illayaraja`s background score. The film doesn`t feature a hero, but the real hero is the composer`s score that fills up most of the silence in the narrative with absolute brilliance.
Music is the film`s biggest strength because it successfully replaces words and serves as a strong narrative in some crucial scenes. The pain of some of the characters is wonderfully rendered through the score that also captures the tension of the film with a breathtaking orchestra-backed composition.
Mysskin plays Wolf whose intention we don`t understand until the climax. It is not easy to direct as well as act, but with precision and conviction, Mysskin makes it all look easy. He takes a dig at the police department throughout and it isn`t easy to welcome his criticism, but with the levity that he presents it, you tend to give in with a smile. He also shines as an actor in his role. Mysskin`s passion for martial arts continues in OA too, as he performs an excellent hand combat towards the end. His supporting cast is far better than several lead actors of the Tamil film industry.
Besides music, darkness is also one of the important characters in the film. Cinematographer Balaji Ranga uses darkness to build the mood of the film. His frames of Chennai through the night are brilliant to watch on screen.
Sri, who plays Chandra, impresses with his energetic performance. His transformation from a lamb-like character to a powerful one towards the end is exceptionally well performed. Mysskin has extracted the best out of him and it is evident on screen.
OA is a cut above Mysskin`s previous works. He crushes all cinematic cliches with this effort and manages to gives us a film we deserve.
Haricharan Pudipeddi / IANS
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