Returning to Tamil screen after a couple of decades of hiatus, Thulasidas strikes a different chord by opting for an all-female cast for his second Tamil directorial venture. A bilingual (Girls in Malayalam), the veteran director of Malayalam films has, however, selected a theme that has been trending on Tamil screen these past couple of years. A supernatural thriller set against a crime backdrop. Only, there are no eerie sounds and visuals to scare the faint hearted here nor much of humour to regale one. The film, dull and insipid in the first part, manages to pick up momentum towards the second half.
The story opens with Sophia (Iniya) and a bunch of girls from a film institute venturing to a remote bungalow to shoot a short film. Thinking out of the box, Sophia comes up with a plot centered on a lesbian love story. The attraction of Clara a girl towards Merlin her best friend and the consequences of it, is shot and completed to their satisfaction.
While Sophia essayed Clara in their short film, Merlin was enacted by Rehana, a pretty girl they had met on the way and roped her in for the film. As the team go about their work, some weird incidents happen with fiction getting reflected in reality. There is a display of power where the girls indulge in some stunts as they take on a couple of chain-snatchers. The script meanders in the early part. There are characters which, apart from adding colour to the ambience, are hardly utilised; like Kovai Sarala as the cook and the weird looking old caretaker at the bungalow who looked like she would play a crucial role. The presentation and narrative style were almost outdated in the first half.
It’s in the second part where the plot takes an investigative mode wherein which interest is generated. Nadiya enters the scene as a cop who is persuaded to open a suicide case that had been closed years back. Though having little screen space, her matter-of-fact take on her character lends the film a semblance of seriousness and solidity. Events move at a rapid pace after this; the unravelling of the backstory narrated with interest. Lesbianism is a taboo and an uncomfortable topic or many even in today’s liberal times.
And the director has to do some tightrope walking to ensure that the scenes don’t turn off — colour or offensive. It’s to Thulasidas’s credit that he’s handled these moments with sensitivity and finesse.
Reshma’s Clara is splendidly performed, Eden as Rehana/Merlin the perfect foil. And the adage that ‘Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned’ is well brought out. But apart from a few positives the film does not offer complete satisfaction. It was a knot that had the potential to turn into a riveting thriller. But it’s opportunity lost here!