At a time of torrential overdose of promotions for films where ‘promote or peril’ is the mantra, here is Mysskin’s Onaayum Aattukuttiyum (OA) that arrives without much fanfare. In a way, this move itself seems to reflect the persona of the director who prefers to always tread the path less trodden.
Producing under his banner Lone Wolf Productions, Mysskin’s OA has maestro Ilayaraja’s background score as the primary hero which the director proudly showcases as the foreground score in the title card.
The story of OA could be nothing new but it is Mysskin’s treatment which makes the film stand out tall among the heap. For all those movie buffs who have been complaining about the latest barrage and success of mindless comedies in Tamil cinema, Mysskin’s OA is a welcome reprieve.
OA is a suspense thriller that opens with a long shot of a man hit by a bullet in the middle of a road in the late hours of the day. From here on, the momentum picks up real fast with the energetic Sri (Vazhakku Enn 18/9) pressing on the speed button nonstop.
The tone of the film gets set from this point onwards with Raja taking complete control of the film filling up all spaces and replacing words and emotions with his musical spell. Scenes are intelligently written and carefully executed. The surgery that Sri performs in his room and the one where Sri meets Mysskin in the train are strikingly shot and held together by understanding performances.
For a genre of suspense thriller, it is supremely important that the director has his audience in his grip and Mysskin satisfies this hugely. He constructs an engrossing plot brimming over with twists and his major trump card is the plot’s absolute lack of predictability till all the cards are spread on the table. There are quite a few peripheral characters and the director steadily unravels them all. Till a specific point in the film, the character of Mysskin- whether he is white or black or grey- is kept under wraps.
Although humor runs along the length of the film quite unobtrusively, the butt of the jokes in most places is invariably the police force. Stunts are exquisitely done and the scene in the flyover when Mysskin sitting in the car slitting the biker with perfect precision is a sample. There are no songs and Mysskin has done away with his yellow sari number too. And there is no heroine! Despite eschewing these commercial ‘must haves’, OA works big time, thanks to its smart screenplay and the narrative style.
Mysskin can be felt strongly in the interactions of the police, levity in unexpected quarters (policeman saluting Aditya) and the robot-like movements of characters to name a few. However when he explains his life trying to put it as simply as possible, it is evident that the director has attempted to come out of his zone playing to all sections of the audience. Mysskin shines as an actor too in this episode.
Sri has had an amazing opportunity to showcase his histrionics and the young actor has gobbled it up with all his might. The exchange of looks between him and the character that plays Bharathi Chitthi, his shock upon realizing the expectations of the police from him, the turmoil and the confusion that he goes through on understanding the truth- the young lad is more than impressive in all these sequences. For actor Mysskin, it is a standard portrayal. The supporting cast dishes out adequate performances too with the artist doing the CBCID officer taking the most honors.
Perfectly understanding the director’s need, cinematographer Balaji Ranga’s frames of Chennai at ungodly hours are shot with brilliant acuity and bring about the right kind of feel.
On the flip side, having set the tone of the film in an intelligent way, one would expect the continuation of this mood till the end. The climax sword fight in the parking area of the mall where each villain waits patiently could have been an Oriental influence but does not gel well with the scheme of things. And Sri’s final decision also appears highly implausible, the spelling out of which could be a spoiler.
Summing it all, Mysskin’s Onaayum Aattukuttiyum is marked by apt performances, engaging screen play, intelligent narration and a sincere execution accompanied by technical brilliances. It has been a while we got to see a thriller well made and OA fits the bill perfectly.
Verdict: A dark, heavy, well made engaging suspense thriller; Mysskin returns to his form