Thanks to the success of Renigunta, director Pannerselvam has carved the niche for himself as someone who treads the unchartered territories. First it was young criminals and their lives and now it’s the story of a mentally unstable teenager – with a bizarre mental condition – and his love story. He brings Johnny back from Renigunta but otherwise the story relies on some lesser known actors who have more or less pulled it off without many glitches.
Rather than the performances, which are largely unobjectionable, it’s the story that makes one squirm in their seats. The logical loopholes are just too many and the story slips into the depths of unconvincing drivel soon after it commences leaving no single character in the movie to root for. Thus, despite Johnny’s earnest performance and Gayathri’s endearing smile remain the only remnants of this psycho-romance film.
Pannerselvam imagines the film’s lead to have a weird mental condition; the young man seems to transform into any animal that is in his proximity and exhibits the respective animal’s behavior. And he acquired the condition after a depressing childhood that saw his loving father committing suicide because of his disloyal mother. The disloyal mother goes on to marry the same man with whom she was cheating on her husband. Appalled by her behavior her son slaughters her and her paramour.
He falls in love simultaneously and despite his condition, wants to elope with the girl to the jungle as a way of fleeing the repressing conditions. Parts of the movie are reminiscent of the Kamal heavyweight psychological romance Guna. Only that the story and the performances are not as persuasive, thanks to the slipshod research by the director.
Johnny, who plays the mentally disturbed lead of the film, has improved miles from his previous performance in Renigunta. Although he has done hard work to convince you that he is a sick teenager in need of psychiatric help, he runs the risk of being typecast if he continues to choose movies that put him at an edge.
Gayathri, the film’s lead, is a petite young girl who seems to have the ability to act. She mostly has to slip into the skin of a damsel in distress and to that extent she has done a good job. The other characters in the plot, performed by debut actors, have all filled in their shoes well with whatever has been thrust upon them. Another actor who stands out is Rohini, as a psychiatrist, although the writing of her character is sketchy and leaves many unanswered questions.
But Yuvarani, as the evil, lusty and disloyal mother who doesn’t give two hoots for responsibilities, takes the cake. Her malevolence runs as a root throughout the movie and engenders hatred so huge that it’s hard to overlook. Perhaps that’s the success of her characterization and the director has achieved a well rounded character while writing it. That’s not to say the role Is not without its flaws, they are just ignored when Yuvarani acts them out. Rest of the technical aspects of the movie, including camera, music and editing rank above average.
If you do not mind watching a strange little love story, 18 Vayasu is your thing. But if you’re not up for a depressing love story, give this one a miss.
Verdict: Psycho-romance love story!