Pizza directed by Karthik Subbaraj ushered in a trend in Tamil cinema wherein filmmakers with different approaches and treatment towards storytelling started receiving the necessary acclaim they deserved. This trendsetting movie has set a Pizza franchise and here comes debutant director Deepan’s Villa- Pizza 2.
First things first, Villa is not a sequel to Pizza and is on the same breath only in its genre. The film opens with an interview of Jayakumar who has done a lot of research in paranormal activities.
Ashok Selvan is a writer who is trying to get his work published. The film begins with Selvan’s dad Nasser’s funeral and the subsequent understanding about his financial status. There is also a villa in Pondycherry that has been bequeathed to him by his dad about which he had no clue till then. His ensuing journey to the villa sets the ball rolling for interesting events that get unfurled slowly.
An eerie raven, a typewriter with its spooky sounds, a painting with a differential reflection, a desolate villa with a sole occupant, sound effects that increase your pulse rate- all these set the mood right for Villa.
Deepan has crafted a fairly tight screenplay and moves his scenes at a steady pace. In a conflict between science and superstitions, he has treaded a path that gives scientific explanation of paranormal activities which are largely convincing. Some of his explanations about the purpose for dress code for women and men in temples are quite interesting.
Performance of Ashok Selvan and Sanchitha Shetty strictly adhere to their role and there are moments where you feel Ashok could do with some more emotions. His demeanor suits the ‘writer’ with his Chinese collared shirts throughout the film. Nasser, although for a limited time, dishes out a neat portrayal.
Cinema is a collaborative art and Deepan is amply supported in his endeavor by a strong technical team. For a film of this genre, sound plays a crucial role and Santosh Narayan delivers a thumping ace in this department. Be it his BGM or the melodious Boomyil, the musician delivers it well. Sound engineers Vishnu and Shankar also need to be applauded in many scenes inside the villa especially the one where Jaikumar, Ashok and his friend encounter the spirits in the villa, the feel is riveting.
Villa provides ample opportunities for art direction and Mayan’s art designs, true to his name, are splendid and give the perfect ambience for Deepan’s vision.
If there is something that is more gripping than the narration, it is Deepak Kumar Padhy’s camerawork who with his play of lights and angles set the right amount of chill factor, the sample being the scene when Ashok visits the villa for the first time. Visual effects are also of high quality – the flaming up sequence and the pre-interval block being couple of good examples. Villa also clearly illustrates the editing prowess of Leo John Paul who impresses with his sharp edits to keep the momentum intact.
Summing it up, Villa comes across as a product that has been neatly done in all the units from narration to screen play to technical departments and engages the audience to a large extent.
Verdict: Fairly gripping and technically well done.