Synopsis: Circumstances force Prabhakaran (Irfan), a brilliant carom player, to take on Kasi ( Madhu), the star player at an illegal carom club owned by Bhagya Annachi (Naren), a local dada. He defeats Kasi in style and becomes closer to Bhagya. Things are looking up for Prabha as he also wins the love of Kalai ( Arundhati), his sister’s friend, but Kasi, who is smarting from defeat, is determined to wreck his life…
Movie Review: Sundaattam is set in the year 1990, when fan clubs of actors were a sanctuary for the jobless and the unambitious, and safe havens for gambling. Prabha belongs to one such club (Payum Puli Rasigar Mandram), and is content whiling away his time playing carom with his friends. Even as his father makes some progress in sending him to Dubai, he gets embroiled with a local gang, thanks to his loudmouth of a friend.
Brahma Dev manages to set up these initial portions convincingly, even if there is a whiff of Hari’s Tamizh and Vetri Maaran’s Polladhavan in the plot while the harsh visual tone owes a bit to Selvaraghavan’s Pudhupettai. The action then shifts to the titular sundaattam (carom) and here again the director shows competence in introducing the antagonist and the conflict. It is quite easy to understand why Kasi will be disturbed by a loss. He is an addict who gets his high not just from the drugs that he takes but also from the one game in which he is on top (Intriguingly, while shots of drinking and smoking come with a statutory warning, scenes showing Kasi taking drugs don’t). So, when he is beaten comprehensively, it is natural that he will want his revenge.
But then Dev introduces the mandatory romantic track with the mandatory Ilaiyaraaja tribute song (En Uyir Thozhan’s Raasathi…) and that is when the cracks begin to show. The track is as cliched as it comes with standard Tamil cinema components including a stiff-as-starch brother who is dead against their romance. More worryingly, this indifference spills over to the main plot involving the carom game. So, we get a needless sub-plot involving Amir, a rival gangster, and his plans to murder Annachi. Like a carom player who has inexplicably lost the ability to pocket the coins, Dev too finds himself with too many plot threads and no end in sight. So, he takes up these plots one at a time and valiantly — but unsuccessfully — tries to bring each one to a satisfactory conclusion. But, by then, our initial excitement has died down and what we are left with is the glimpses of talent that the director showcased in the earlier scenes.
Verdict – OK