8 Thottakkal

8 Thottakkal

The film quotes Akira Kurosawa’s Stray Dog as its primary source of adaptation. Only the premise of a cop’s gun being stolen is shared here. The rest of the film is a full-blown tribute to Walter White of Breaking Bad. Over 50 hours (5 seasons) of a character arc is reduced to a moody 120-minute situation-based thriller. One gun gets stolen, and that springs up a thread of connections, where the people involved are all in different spectrums of morality. We have an honest cop and a pension-seeking old man, as opposed to the henchman who is plotting to run away with his boss’ wife.

Once you get this inspiration, you know where the film is going. You already know the end of the character arc, why he is doing what. The penultimate reveals don’t hold much shock-value. But hold on – the story never ceases to fascinate. Rarely does it hold back. It is as brutal as the action choreography (that has a thing for fierce punches aimed at the face). It treats its children with heavy doses of reality.

I get the decision of casting of Vetri. He looks the part. But the character is given more than what he has been chosen for. His character, Sathya, has spent 8 years in juvenile jail for a murder he didn’t commit. He dreads the khakhee. But he ends up becoming one among those to adorn the same. You get it – he is powerless. He still holds the fear inside him. He is perpetually disturbed. But then the time of his life the film is showing has him interacting with people who affect his state of mind. A woman, a senior officer, an old man whose sorrows he relates to. All this happening and we don’t see an iota of impact on Vetri. He holds the stone-cold face, start-to-end. And that he is supposed to pull-off a complex romance track with two extremely unwanted songs doesn’t help him either. Just a debut, fine, but the character does need someone who can express.

And this film also houses the opposite end of the acting scale. MS Bhaskar. The man stumbles, shrugs, stiffens, recovers and immediately commands too, all of this with awe-inspiring genuineness. . And the slow pacing helps in seeing him as a parallel to the character from Breaking Bad. He nails the Madras version of Walter White. He opens up about himself just like any Mysskin character. He speaks slowly. He is no hurry to get done with anything at all. He maintains the enigma throughout. We can feel the conviction in every decision he takes. The character should work wonders for those who haven’t seen BB. A career-best performance from the man. He’s given it all in here.

And so does Nasser in a brilliantly composed character as a mentor to our helpless hero. These are veteran character artists, and are now in a zone where they elevate the film’s seriousness with their baritone. They are bigger than the film, in an inspiring way.

It is amazing how writer-director Sri Ganesh has drawn from the stuff that has inspired him. You can sense the Mysskin influence all over, for he previously has assisted him. There is a flavour of Spaghetti Western action in few sequences. There is of course, the direct impact of Vince Gilligan’s slow-burn character development. Sri mounts scenes very well. There is one scene where a murder takes place in a public toilet. You know where it is going right from when it starts. There is a timid chase that leads to the location. You can already guess how this is going to unfold. But he holds you with powerful staging. He never lets the scene lose its seriousness. Also, thanks to the intense MSB who nails every single action sequence he’s in. The gun he uses, because he simply likes to. He gets a high on the bullets and the trip they give him. He doesn’t let you read this from his face. He holds back until his final confession, opening up a new way to look at his character. Just like Bryan Cranston. I can’t stop raving about how well this film has adapted the arc.

It is refreshing to see a young director drawing inspiration in the right ways. This in itself, should be motivating for plenty of other upcoming filmmakers out there. You can pay homage to all the works of art that drive your passion, without it seeming like a “copy”. Loved this film for such genuineness.


Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Recent Posts

You Might Also Like

Manjummel Boys
Jigarthanda DoubleX
Ponniyin Selvan: II