Film: Kuttram 23
Cast: Arun Vijay, Mahima Nambiar,Vamsi Krishna, Arvind Akash, Thambi Ramaiah
An investigative crime thriller, Kuttram 23 is about medical malpractices and doctors who believed they were gods. An adaptation of crime writer Rajesh Kumar’s novel, the director has attempted to give a natural, realistic feel to his story telling, even as he tries to blend style with content. But many times, form seems to overpower matter, giving the feel that the content was not as well worked out, the way its design was.
The plot touches up on the social stigma on childless women who fall easy prey to predators in the medical profession. It has Arun Vijay in khaki for the first time. With a trim physique and suitable body language, Arun essays Vetri with perfect understanding, his performance nuanced and eminently watchable.
When a priest is found dead at the church and Jessica, the pregnant wife of the head honcho of a TV channel, present at the church goes missing, Vetri steps in to find the truth. With more pregnant women found committing suicide, the case becomes complex and intriguing. During his search, the cop stumbles on some shocking truths. It’s a plot set on a familiar premise, the director infusing it with his own sensibility at a leisurely pace.
The action scenes are well choreographed, like the one at the basement car park, where Vetri takes on his detractors. There is the love angle seamlessly weaved in, where Vetri falls for Thendral, a girl who he suspects, knew more about the case than she was prepared to reveal. It’s a cute love track, with Arun and Mahima (of Saattai, 2012) sharing a pleasant screen chemistry. The narration has a smooth, steady flow, albeit a bit slow for a crime thriller.
The film is stylishly narrated. The camera angles and the colour tones enhance the film’s visual appeal. What could have been worked on was the screenplay. Loosely scripted, the message is diluted and spread out, what with megalomaniacs and blackmailers coming in the fray too, apart from the unholy ongoings at fertility clinics. And while there are quite a few villains in the plot, they don’t seem intimidating enough. A more focused screenplay would have helped.
Incidentally, ‘23’ in the title apart from the film being Arun’s 23rd venture, also has a connect to the film’s plot. Taking about 134 minutes of viewing time, the film, which could have been a riveting thriller, is an average fare.