Cast: Suriya, Samantha, Nithya Menen, Ajay, Saranya Ponvannan, Sathyan.
Director: Vikram Kumar
Suriya has turned into an actor again after a long time. He was a star all these years. He’s yelled in ‘Singham’, cried in ‘Ghajini’, used pick-up lines in ‘Vaaranam Aayiram’, and chased tough men in ‘Ayan’, and it’s a surprise that he’s still able to bring newness to the three different roles he’s played in Vikram Kumar’s ‘24’ while doing all of these activities.
When Vikram put his pen to paper for ‘Manam’, he was interested in the camaraderie the Akkineni family shared on-screen. For ‘24’, he’s gone a step further. He has given every character a purpose. Sathyan, who plays Mani’s (Suriya) friend, is not seen after a point. Yet I didn’t miss him. Or for that matter, Samantha is sidelined in the middle of a crucial scene, and that’s when I began to realize that there are only characters in the movie. When heavyweights like Girish Karnad and Nithya Menen pop up from nowhere and fade away within seconds, the attention is immediately shifted to the next scene without any loss of wonderment.
Athreya (the evil twin of Sethuraman) speaks as if he’s wearing headphones on full-volume all the time. He’s after his brother for a watch that’ll control the movements of time. This is enough to state that he’s a dark-hearted bully. He’s not going to use it to reverse man made destructions or for the betterment of mankind. He just wants to be the King of the world. It’s one of the primary arguments of a filmic villain. Athreya’s bad luck dumps him in a wheelchair. His eyes hold evilness whenever he looks at his family members or the rest of the world. Mithran (Ajay) is the sole apple of his eye.
We walk into the life of Dr. Sethuraman as the opening credits roll. He’s soon joined by his pretty wife Priya (Nithya) and a baby in what looks like a well-designed laboratory. The production team has made sure that the money spent on making the movie is distributed rationally between the talents and the moving images. AR Rahman’s ear-pulling score for the antagonist is supported by the visuals offered through the lenses of Tirru’s camera. The marks of a good team pulling it off are present from the word go.
The romantic track provides laughs and general knowledge on how to get a girl in ten days. Along with the tips, you may need a time-traveling device, too. Samantha’s supporting role is not a deterrent even though it has no impact on the larger scheme of things. It’s quite enjoyable. Although, in hindsight, I think more focus on Athreya and Sethu’s relationship would have had more meat. This idea can be, in fact, developed for a prequel or a sequel.
Saranya as a mother is perfect. In a poignant interaction she brings a mixture of grief and relief to her face. It’s the underlining work of a performer. Songs shot in foreign lands are not loo breaks for the audience but they prove that the film has been made for the folks of the front bench as much as it has been made for an audience that’s been denied the pleasure of watching intelligent movies that give a thumbs-up to the logics of aesthetics. Suriya, on the other hand, shines as a producer. He has to be patted on his back and front for believing in Vikram’s script. To put together an ambitious setup such as this deserves applause.
Suriya has untagged his star status for a film that gives him a bonus as an actor.
Rating: 4.5/ 5