Should Death Sentence be awarded to criminals. Who has the right to take the life of a person. So starts the movie.
Angela Kathamuthu as a reporter and who is doing a research on the subject goes to central jail to interview few convicts to know their views. The scheduled person dies accidentally and sub-jailer Peikamman brings her two different person, one who is undergoing life sentence (Kothala Devar) and another sentenced to death (Virumandi).
I need not write the whole story again as it is there in many sites.
Kothala Devar gives the whole picture of what happened and how Virumandi had raped and killed his niece (Annalakshmi). Virumandi is also co-accused in killing of 24 people. This forms the first half of the movie. The script is slightly loose here that audience gets confused. More to do with lot of songs also. There are few loopholes which could have been plugged but its good in a way since it keeps the audience guessing.
By the end of first half it is quite convincing that Virumandi is actually a rapist and murderer.
In the second half Virumandi tells the story after initial hesitation. When he starts telling the story lot of gaps in Kothala Devar’s story gets filled. Slowly the audience starts to understand that Virumandi is actually innocent.
Peikamman was Police Inspector in the village where Virumandi and Kothala Devar were from. How much corrupt he is is also nicely portrayed. The scene where he takes money from Kothala Devar to write that Virumandi is innocent of killings he is accused of is shown cleanly.
The style of delivering is totally different. Its more of two people, the villian and the innocent telling stories from their view point. I believe a way of story telling not tried till now.
The movie also shows how easy it is for getting drugs and weapons and mobiles in and out from jails with help of jail staff.
Ilayaraja has always excelled with his music in this movie. The background score and song composition are brilliant. In certain areas how he gives a pause for the scene to settle in the audience is sheer brilliance.
Pasupathi as Kothala Devar, Kamal as Virumandi and Abirami as Annalakshmi have all given powerful performances.
The scene where Annalakshmi tells Virumandi ‘kudichadu podum poy thoongu’ (Enough of drinking go and sleep) and Virumandi pours the remaining liquor from the glass to the floor shows the extent of love between the two.
The language is another plus point, its a typical village dialect. In some places, the usage of Telugu gives local flavor to the movie.
Kamal has tried to mix violence with romance beautifully in the movie.
The movie suffers from too much depiction of violence. Perfect that killings do happen this way, but this kind never goes well with the audience who are more soft hearted. Even the tough guys would like to see so much blood in the movie.
The movie is too long. Kamal should have tried somehow to reduce the length by making the script more tight and removing certain unnecessary events in the movie.
That there were some gaps in the first half looks to be intentional after watching the second half, but the audience expectation is different. Probably at a different audience this movie would have done well commercially.
Some songs are not required in the movie but they have been part and parcel of any Indian movie so cant be helped much.
Ilayaraja has not justified in certain areas when the music gets too loud.
In the end its a must watch movie for the different style.
” Manithe uyire edukare urimay eyarkaiku thaan irukku athe yaar meerinalum athu kolai thaan.” (Only nature has the right to take life away from a person, anyone else who does it is equivalent to murder)