Director: Karthik Subburaj
Cast: Vijay Sethupathy, Ramya
A taut screenplay, some fine performances, and firm support from the technical crew makes ‘Pizza’ a sumptuous fare. It has a simple storyline. But it’s the presentation, and the clever way the debutant director manipulates his audience to go through various moods of horror, fear and relief that makes it different and riveting. The winner of a TV reality show (‘Naalaiya Iyakkunar’), Subburaj after directing some short films, takes his first step on to the big screen. The director moves his narration with such deftness and confidence, that it belies the fact that ‘Pizza’ is the work of a debutant.
The film opens in a ‘Paranormal Activity’ kind of way, where a live in couple Michael and Anu are watching films on the supernatural. It is aspiring fiction writer Anu’s favourite genre. While Michael, a pizza delivery boy, has no great fondness for ghosts and spirits, ‘the time has come for you to confront it,’ ominously warns Anu.
The director prepares the audience mind here for the rest of the narration to follow. Cleverly manipulating the receptive mind of his viewer, Subburaj weaves an intriguing tale of horror, suspense and the supernatural, where truth blends with fiction.
The screenplay hinges on two main factors - Michael’s reluctant marriage to Anu when they find she’s pregnant and his late night delivery of pizza to a mansion. There is natural chemistry between Remya and Sethupathi. Remya has honed her acting skills, and is believable here as the smart cookie who knows how to exploit vulnerable minds. Sethupathy, a delight to watch, carries the entire film on his shoulders. His voice perfectly modulated, he proves his versatility and acumen to handle any role. Michael’s nightmarish experience, and his fear and horror when he’s trapped in the mansion, is perfectly conveyed by the actor. The pizza shop owner (Narein suitably fitting in) with his own problems, a possessed daughter and the visits of tantriks; Michael’s two colleagues who wonder if Anu was a figment of Michael’s imagination, all add colour to the tale. Fantasy and fiction, truth and reality are blended in an intriguing way, keeping the audience glued to the screen for almost the whole of its 128 minutes of viewing time.
It has a great twist at the end. Deft camerawork (Gopi Amarnath), slick editing (Leo John Paul) and the eerie creepy background score (Santosh Narayan), enhance the feel and mood. Gana Bala’s blues jazz track is used with good effect as a cell phone’s ring tone here. When films boasting of big names fail to deliver, it’s reassuring that a crop of young debutant makers are striving for a different take from the routine formula fare. Kudos to the producer-director team of C V Kumar and Subburaj. ‘Pizza’ is offbeat, intriguing and gripping, and nothing like what you’ve seen on Tamil screen before.