Kolaigaran movie review: Arjun Sarja delivers a sublime performance in this gripping whodunit
Kolaigaran is an intelligent investigative thriller, which will force the audiences to think.
After a long time, Tamil cinema has come out with an edge-of-the-seat whodunit in Kolaigaran, which is gripping and skilfully woven by director Andrew Louis. The identity of the criminal and their motives are made known to the audiences only a few seconds before the end titles. At 110 minutes, the film is fast-paced and engaging.
The story has many interesting layers which keep the viewers hooked, thanks to a convincing screenplay. Louis acknowledges that Kolaigaran is “sort of inspired” from the Japanese novel The Devotion Of Suspect X, which was also the source of Mohanlal's classic, Drishyam, directed by Jeethu Joseph. The film was remade in Tamil as Papanasam with Kamal Haasan in the lead). The basic theme here remains the same: an intelligent man with an investigative mind trying to cover-up a murder committed by an innocent person, for whom he has a soft corner.
Top cop Karthikeyan (Arjun Sarja) rushes to a crime spot where he finds the half burnt and mutilated body of a man. The film then cuts to a flat complex where Prabhakaran (Vijay Antony) and Dharani (Ashima Narwal) are neighbours and live right opposite each other. They seem to like each other and it's not hard to figure that something is brewing. Meanwhile, the dead body that the investigative officer Karthikeyan discovered turns out to be that of Vamsi's, an influential minister’s younger brother who was earlier stalking Dharani in Hyderabad. So Karthikeyan is under pressure to solve the case at the earliest.
Dharani and her mother (Seetha) had escaped to Chennai before Vamsi tracked them down. Karthikeyan suspects that the mother and daughter killed Vamsi with a third person who helped dispose the body. In an unexpected turn of events, Prabhakaran confesses to Karthikeyan and the investigating team that it was he who murdered Vamsi. But something is missing from what was initially considered an open and shut case. There are far too many red herrings, and to add to the confusion, the mystery man Prabhakaran turns out to be an ex- IPS officer from Hyderabad, who is a specialist in investigating murder cases.
The success of the film lies in its tight screenplay. With his narration, Andrew is able to create the premise and maintain the mystery. In addition to that, the cat and mouse game between the cop and the murderer, is always one step ahead, is crackling.
There are solid performances from two key actors in Kolaigaran - Arjun Sarja as the investigative cop is fabulous while Vijay Antony, who calls himself a “limited actor”, does a neat job with his deadpan delivery. Newcomer Ashima Narwal is impressive in her debut film, while Nassar is riveting as a retired cop. Simon King’s peppy background score lifts the film. However, the director could have avoided the three songs which not only act as speed breakers, but also stick out like a sore thumb, especially in a thriller. The makers of the film claim that the songs are a commercial necessity to provide some relief from the tension.
On the whole, Kolaigaran is an intelligent investigative thriller, which will force the audiences to think.
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