Director: Pawan Kumar
Cast: Samantha Akkineni, Aadhi Pinisetty
Rating: 2.5/ 5
Ghost stories are becoming so common in Tamil cinema that they are beginning to bore us. Add to this, these films are also touted as comedies. But, whatever they be, these movies are hardly ever scary, and often use ploys merely to startle us, not quite scare us. Pawan Kumar's U Turn, which was originally made in Kannada, and has now been remade in Telugu and Tamil, gives us a hint of what is to follow right at the beginning when Rachana (played by Samantha Akkineni) asks her friend whether he believes in ghosts. He does not know, he says as he drives her on his two-wheeler through a flyover in Velachery, a south Chennai locality.
The film takes off with Rachana, an intern with a large newspaper, trying to find out about those erring two-wheel riders who remove a couple of stones serving as a road divider on the flyover to take a u-turn in order to save time. Otherwise, they would have had to take a long detour. A dwarf, who has a little shack on the flyover, is hired by Rachana to make a note of the registration numbers of two-wheelers that have made the u-turn in violation of traffic rules. But as is common in Chennai and perhaps elsewhere too, the erring riders never bother to place the stones back in place -- leading to unwary drivers hitting them and going for a toss. Strangely, Rachana who had been to meet one of the erring drivers – as part of her story – finds herself in the police net after the man is found dead with a slit wrist.
Obviously, not much of logic can be expected in a movie of this sort, but happily Kumar does refrain himself from getting into the routine song-and-dance narration. If there is a hint of romance between Rachana and her office colleague, Aditya (Rahul Ravindran), it is kept firmly on the sideline, and even her relationship with a young investigating cop, Nayak (Aadhi Pinisetty), does not bloom into love. U Turn, therefore, does not get diverted and distracted from its core theme, which – based as we are told on real incidents – veers towards the supernatural.
However, the film could have been far better had the performances been top notch. Samantha may look pretty and frightened and helpless, but is not convincing enough to draw us into what can be seen as a rather unsettling plot. The men are wooden and contribute little to a movie, which though has very a important road safety message. Stones carelessly placed on thoroughfares can be a death-trap for the unwary motorcyclist or scooterist, especially on dark, rainy nights as we see in U Turn.