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Kolaigaran movie review: A well-made investigative thriller with solid twists and turns

Kolaigaran is ideal binge material—there is a twist at every turn, but they are all within the realm of the characters’ universe. This works largely to the advantage of the film.

Rating: 3 out of 5
Written by S Subhakeerthana | Chennai |
June 7, 2019 5:31:13 pm
Kolaigaran Kolaigaran movie review: Arjun Sarja’s performance is the icing on the cake. 

Kolaigaran movie cast: Vijay Antony, Arjun Sarja, Ashima Narwal
Kolaigaran movie director: Andrew Louis
Kolaigaran movie rating: 3 stars

Kolaigaran opens with a young woman getting murdered by an unknown man. The makers don’t immediately tell you who she is. We get introduced to Prabhakaran (Vijay Antony) confessing to the crime. We don’t know his background either. He is a lonely man, shown working at Casagrand. We eventually get a hint there is something more though. At work, people think he is “oru type-aana aalu”. He stays opposite Dharini’s (Ashima Narwal) home.

Prabhakaran and Dharini don’t talk much. They smile whenever they bump into each other. But Prabhakaran has a past that he is not comfortable telling people. In the interval, you get to know he was a former cop. So, Prabhakaran was the name of a film featuring Vijayakanth. Captain Prabhakaran. Does it ring a bell? Going by the character’s name, you know what exactly to expect from the police officer. Forthright in word and upright in deed. Moving on.

Karthikeyan (Arjun Sarja) is assigned to investigate the murder of an unidentified man. Soon, we know the victim is Vamsi, the relative of an Andhra Pradesh Minister, who was stalking Dharini and her mom. Karthikeyan suspects the mother and the daughter would have killed Vamsi. But Prabhakaran opts to surrender to the police. A highly instinctive Karthikeyan delves deeper into the case and gets to know of Prabhakaran’s past. How he handles it forms the rest of the story.

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It is inevitable that we compare Kolaigaran to Drishyam as both films are loosely based on the popular Japanese novel, The Devotion of Suspect X. I like the roles intense Vijay Antony is picking. He knows what works for him the best. Andrew Louis, for sure, is a focused director. The core of Kolaigaran is interesting. The characters are fleshed out well enough that makes us truly care when they emote or perform.

Arjun Sarja’s performance is the icing on the cake. My favourite dialogue was, “hospital-aye camera illayam”, as he says while entering the hotel room. I don’t have to remind the readers about this. We know Apollo Hospitals had turned off the CCTV cameras where the former Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa was admitted.

I wish the cop played by Vijay Antony had been given more to do. We don’t know ‘that’ side of his yet. Kolaigaran is a fascinating contrast to the actor’s previous outing Thimiru Pudichavan, where he donned the khaki—and you remember it for all wrong reasons. Kolaigaran moves back and forth swiftly, leading you into a maze and there is some fine writing that keeps you on the edge of your seat. What put me off is those misplaced duets—Kolladhey…Kolladhey and Idhamai— but you have to give it to Simon King for the edgy background score that perfectly sets the mood for the thriller.

Kolaigaran is ideal binge material—there is a twist at every turn, but they are all within the realm of the characters’ universe. This works largely to the advantage of the film. I think after a long time I watched a film without checking my WhatsApp messages. Hey, this really says a lot.

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