'Vazhakku Enn 18/9' (Tamil)
Director: Balaji Sakthivel
Cast: Sri, Urmila Mahantha, Mithun, Manisha and others
Balaji Sakthivel, the man behind sensitive romances like 'Kadhal', returns with yet another engaging offbeat experience in 'Vazhakku Enn...'. The screenplay is delicately crafted and the characters well fleshed out. The film has an ensemble cast of debutantes, which lends it a sense of reality and naturalness.
A teen accused of a heinous crime based on circumstantial evidence — an accidental victim — and the attempt by powers that be at a cover up, form the crux of the plot. The director uses a non linear narrative style as he touches upon the happenings in the lives of two teen couples, from different economic and social strata. The two parallel storylines converge at a point.
The film opens with an untoward happening in an apartment. The scene with an ambulance and the police milling around sets the tone for the rest of the film.
Velu (Sri) working at a roadside eatery is hauled up as the prime suspect and is questioned by the cops. The narration moves back and forth in time as a scared Velu narrates his story — his traumatic childhood and his job as a helper at the eatery. Vijay Milton’s camera work does justice to the authentic sketching of the ambience around the roadside eatery.
The narration, though a tad slow in the beginning, picks up momentum as the film progresses. Scenes of Velu’s attraction for Jyoti, a domestic help at a nearby apartment, and his bumbling actions misconstrued by her mother are realistically etched. Sri and Urmila essay their roles with perfect understanding.
The other couple in the story, Arthi (Manisha) and Dinesh (Mithun), are 12th standard students from affluent families. Dinesh’s intention in striking up a friendship with Arthi reveals the ugly side of urban life. Through these characters the director makes a statement on the neglect of children by working parents. Protectors of law shifting stances for personal gains is brought out well through the character of the investigating cop, essayed with efficiency by Muthuraman.
The finale will have the audience rooting for Jyoti’s gutsy act.
The director has managed to sustain an element of surprise throughout. Certain situations and characters that seem incidental in the earlier part, acquire a whole new meaning and perspective when revisited at a later stage.
'Vazhakku Enn...' is one of those rare experiences which entertains even as it makes you think.