'Chennai 600028 II: Second Innings' review: Venkat Prabhu's writing serves as a smooth pitch

Sujatha Narayanan

Dec 10, 2016 12:39:12 IST

3.5/5

Like all good sequels, Chennai 600028 II: Second Innings takes off from where the first part ends. Chennai Sharks and Chennai Bad Boys have a one-of-its-kind face-off which is both interestingly filmed (Camera: Rajesh Yadav) and performed like a Live match!

Chennai 600028 II: Second Innings review: Venkat Prabhus writing serves as a smooth pitch

A still from Chennai 600028 2: Second Innings. YouTube

The Chennai Bad Boys are those naturally gifted school-fellas who won Gopi’s bat (Vijay Vasanth whose Hindi-Tamil one-liners garner full applause) in a wager match at the Marina beach in part 1. Though the song says the #boysareback, the reality is: the boys are now uncles – some of whom are married and two of whom are waiting-to-be-married. A non-fussy realistic rhythm runs through this sequel which has a lot of heart, just like Venkat Prabhu’s runaway super-hit of 2007.

Karthik (Shiva who has the best lines in the film and is a true ‘legendary captain’ here with an added profile of an online movie critic), Raghu (Jai – whose good looks and acting go hand-in-hand), Pazhani (a rely-on-me for emotional and comedy scenes Nitin Sathya) and Cheenu (my-vanakkam-is-enough-to-make-you-laugh Premji) along with their teammates Arvind Akash, Mahat and Ajai encounter a series of incidents in faraway Theni, where the ‘moustache-twirling’ Marudhupandi (a dare-to-be-as-handsome-as-me Vaibhav) looms larger than their own selves.

Arvind keeps losing local matches to Marudhu and co, and Raghu’s impending wedding to his colleague Anu brings the erstwhile Ch-28 gang to Theni. A simple set of events which are both well-narrated and well-paced enmesh the lot into dramatic plot-points which include the face-off match and then it is a ‘happily ever after’ with ample support to your laugh-lines by a bunch of able actors like Sachu, Ilavarasu, producer Siva and Subbu Panchu. The writing in this film should be given the ‘man of the match’ award. Writer-director Venkat Prabhu pens down situations which are ‘visual’ and they propel the ‘game of love and cricket’ forward.

Self-referencing, insider-jokes on the film industry and irreverent dialogue punches on current-affairs usually get trite and alien for a neutral audience. But here the empathetic nod to demonetisation and marital woes are believable as the actors look and sound ‘real’ and not like some caricature cut-outs. The social pressure on the man to compromise his dreams to give his family a good life and the wife’s angle of addressing male debauchery balance out in quick scenes without dwelling on too much melodrama. The laughs flow and like how!

This film addresses ‘male emancipation’ with gusto. If Vijayalakshmi and Shiva’s love story formed the crux of the first part, the romantic angle in this sequel belongs to Jai and Sana. Yuvan’s tune and the lyric Soppana Sundari work well here but I did yearn for the musical richness which Chennai-28-1 offered. The background score credits by Yuvan, Bavatharini and Premji enliven the moments.

Venkat Prabhu hits the ground running and plays to his strengths where the title sequence in the beginning (candid shots of how cricket is pertinent to any one of us) and in the end (the behind-the-scenes) are equally entertaining. This is not an ‘I-will-show-you-if-I’m-smarter’ kind of film and there is no pressure to second guess each outcome.

Sometimes it works to be on the ‘outside’ and merely watch how the players hit their shots and at other times (like the scene when the wives give their two cents on the yorker and off-side) it works when we are the ones on the inside, like one of the team-mates. Pleasing colours (costumes: Vasuki Bhaskar), expansive playing fields and a more rooted and pinned-together canvas (editor: KL Praveen) than its predecessor, Chennai 28-II strikes gold. And no other film deserves the new anti-tobacco advert with 'The Wall' Rahul Dravid as much as the cricket-centric Chennai 600028 II: Second Innings.

Updated Date: Dec 10, 2016 12:47:42 IST