Visaranai Director: Vetri Raman
Visaranai Genre: Crime/Drama
Visaranai Duration: 1 hour and 58 minutes
Visaranai Language: Tamil
Isn’t it strange that most times we look at men in uniform – khakhi uniform – we feel more scared than safe. It is said that police should neither be friends nor foes. Always at bay.
Movies have shown many aspects of the police in our country. While films like Wanted and Singham paint rosy pictures of strong policemen essayed by handsome actors saying no to bribes and beating up corrupt politicians, leaving hopes in audience’s minds, other movies show the raw, closer to reality problems of the system. Bribes, harassments, fake encounters, forced confessions, the list is endless of how the police functions (or does not function), maligning the department’s name for even the hard-working ones.
One such gem of a film is Tamil film Visaranai (The Interrogation), my strong recommendation this week, available on Netflix.
The film starts with four Tamilian labourers being arrested in Andhra Pradesh when a robbery takes place at a high-profile house. The police are under pressure and need confessions from whoever they have caught for fulfilling their duties in the eyes of the powerful person, who is robbed. Pandi (Dinesh) and his friends confused and scared take merciless beatings from the police but stand their ground of not confessing to the crime they did not commit. The spine-chilling sound design can make the audience wince in pain to hear the sound of lathis striking on their bodies, leaving flesh exposed and teeth broken. When one of Pandi’s friend says that his mother always liked his set of teeth and smiles with a toothless, bleeding mouth is disturbing and painful to fathom.
In the course of the film, the four friends realise they are framed and there is no escape. They are eventually made to confess to the robbery in front of a video camera at the house where the robbery took place showing how they entered the house, and robbed. Completely rehearsed. The sequence can make one laugh in astonishment and disbelief at what we hear and see on TV about crime and its “justice”. Hoping this fake confession will get them out of the muck, the four friends fall in a deeper pit when a genuine Tamilian police officer Murugavel (Samuthirakani) offers to takes them to Tamil Nadu and promises to set them free. Less did the four friends know what awaited them. At the police station in Tamil Nadu they clean the police station for the festival, out of respect for the policeman who in some sense rescued them, and become a witness to a bigger web of atrocities of the system, engulfing Murugavel himself.
Shot impeccably and with razor-sharp edit and smooth narrative, the film leaves almost no scope for criticism. Real, outstanding performances by all the actors give life to the characters, making the viewer sympathetic and angry from time to time. Vetri Raman’s voice as the filmmaker is loud and clear. The film is co-produced by actor Dhanush. The director Vetri Raman proves, yet again, why Tamil film industry is a forward-thinking industry in the country today, producing gems year after year.
The national award-winning film was the official entry for Oscar from India and premiered at the Venice film festival. It screened at MAMI film festival and several other prestigious film festivals. The film rates 8.6 on the IMDB.
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(Shweta Basu Prasad is a national award-winning actress, famed for Makdee, Iqbal and television show Chandra Nandini. Shweta is a graduate in mass media and journalism.)