Tamil review: Aanmai Thavarael a good first film


The New Indian Express
Jun 07, 2011 at 03:11pm IST

Chennai: A youngster’s search for his missing girlfriend takes him on a long tortuous route from Chennai to Goa. He gets entangled in a well-organised network of the oldest profession there, where agents, pimps and procurers lure, trap and force girls into prostitution. The movie brings out how the flesh trade too has become more advanced with the help of technology. Online auctioning of girls is an example.

Debutant writer-director Kulanthai Velappan has his script focused, and moves his narration at a steady pace, the interest rarely waning.

The story opens on Vetri (Dhruva) waiting on a deserted road in the wee hours of dawn for his girl Yamuna (Shruthi). As per routine, she would finish her night shift at a call centre and get dropped at the spot to meet him. But when Yamuna doesn’t turn up, Vetri is worried.

Tamil review: Aanmai Thavarael a good first film

A youngster's search for his missing girlfriend takes him on a long tortuous route from Chennai to Goa.

As he waits, a scene unfolds in the background, where Yamuna is being gagged and forcibly dragged to a waiting red van. This opening scene sets the tone for the rest of the movie. Yamuna is not the only victim. A girl jogging on a less frequented lane is jostled and pushed into a van; an unsuspecting air hostess realises too late the duplicity of her boy friend, as she is forcibly bundled into the same red van.

The director has done his homework well. The modus operandi of the gang gets a detailed etching, and a realistic feel. What’s scarier about the abductions is that these were not impulsive, random incidents, but a carefully planned strategy. It’s a warning bell to women about being careful and alert, not just in choosing friends, but in the places they frequent too.

The film shares similarity with a recent release ‘Vilai’, and has shades of ‘Taken’. Debutant Dhruva is earnest in his performance, but needs to work more on his expressions. Dharan has naturally essayed the shrewd ruthless pimp, Pavan, while Nanda Saravanan is apt as the rough cop.

An interesting character is that of Antony a frustrated retired cop, who pitches in his bit to help Vetri. But after the early few scenes he’s pushed out of the story, paving the way for the hero to go solo on his ‘heroic’ acts. With Sampath playing Antony with quiet efficiency, his continued presence would have added more credibility to the proceedings.

A surprise revelation is Subbu Panju as the suave cold- blooded kingpin of the flesh trade in Goa. There are some unconvincing elements in the movie, though. Yet, despite the glitches, it’s commendable that the first time director has chosen a socially relevant theme, has maintained a thread of realism, and managed to keep the interest alive almost throughout.

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