Cinematographer turned director Vijay Milton’s Goli Soda is his second directorial project after ‘Azhagai Irukkiraai Bayamai Irukkiradhu’ in 2006. The title Goli Soda may not mean much to today’s crop of youngsters but for a generation that had their growing up years a few decades back, Goli Soda was the most affordable and favored drink that had an immense thirst quenching quality about it.
The pursuit of identity is the basic arc of this story about four adolescents who work in the busiest Koyambedu vegetable market in Chennai. According to the director’s pre-release interviews on the title and its significance, soda when released of its pressure, fizzes out with much vigor and in the same vein when pushed to the extreme, human beings are likely to explode with great vigor.
Koyambedu market is an interesting and a different premise. Pasanga team of Kishore, Pandi, Sriram and Murugesh are young adults now and they fit their characters perfectly. Chandni and Seetha are the additions here for the ‘love’ component.
Goli Soda’s first half is quite engaging with Imman Annachi’s innovative pointers of smoke rings and his philosophic outpour on alcoholism in the police station under the influence of liquor. Milton brings out the boy’s quest to appeal to the girls with their shared resources well. Their relationship with Sujatha (Aachi) is also very effectively put. The second half of the film deals with the rising of the underdogs and their misfortunes with unpredictable screenplay.
There are a few scenes that are actually packed with punch like the pre-interval block when the character played by Naidu delivers his verdict about how the boys should be treated by his cronies. In a similar breath, what happens when the boys are ordered to be beaten up, is also interesting and realistically written.
One of the pluses of the film is Pandi Raj’s sharp dialogues which augment the effect of some scenes like the one in police station when Imman Annachi questions why the police cannot nab drunkards in front of the liquor shop instead of catching them after a distance.
The ‘Pasanga’ gang delivers an understanding portrayal while the spectacled girl playing ATM is quite natural. In the supporting cast, Imman Annachi, Sujatha are good and the artist playing Naidu is one to watch out for. Powerstar and Sam Anderson are brought in for a small, enjoyable cameo.
As the cinematographer of the film, Milton’s handheld camera roves and pierces in the nooks and corners of the market with good candid shots. Arunagiri’s tracks flow nicely along with the narrative and Seelin’s BGM is done effectively and revs up during the action sequences. Talking about action sequences, Supreme Sundar’s stunts are quite real and believable.
Even if one could question about adolescents indulging in violence would set a bad example, the director cleverly projects them to be bunch of nice guys being pushed to their limits.
Though there are exaggerated cinematic moments, Milton tells a good story under an unusual premise with engaging screenplay, sharp dialogues, good camerawork and interesting moments.