The second innings of Venkat Prabhu (the director of Chennai 600028) comes to audiences as a refreshingly fresh fast-paced movie with a pencil thin script but a gripping screenplay with enough thrills and spills thrown in to keep the audience glued to their seats for the entire running time of around 180 mins.
The story itself deals with Ajay Raj, a TV serial artist, Ganesh (Premji Amaren), Jagapathi Babu, a married man with a daughter, and his brother Ram Babu, his younger brother, and their advantures on a road-trip to Hyderabad in a beaten-down van. While they are on their way from Chennai to Hyderabad to watch a cricket match, circumstances force them to take a deviation from the highway and lead them to a dark, desolate area where the rest of the movie is set.
Cut to Hyderabad, where businessman Vishwanath’s (Prakash Raj) teenage daughter Saroja is kidnapped and ACP Ravichandran (Jayaram) who is also Vishwanath’s friend, is handling the case.
During their eventful scary detour on the shortcut, the 4 friends inadvertently cross paths with a gang that kills a cop right in front of their eyes. This pretty much scares the stuffing out of them and this starts off the gripping cat and mouse chase sequence which sets the tone for the rest of the movie to follow. What adds to the fun is that in the middle of all this melee Ganesh bumps into Saroja who is being held captive by the same gang. Ganesh (being the comic ‘hero’ that he is) decides to rescue the girl in the anticipation that he might at last find a girl who thinks he is something more than just a joker (which is what he actually is, by the way).
In any case, the gang which was already pissed off with the guys having witnessed the murder is doubly angered by this turn of events and they intensify their efforts to pursue these guys. The only way out of this place is an early morning train, which just to add to the fun, doesn’t actually stop at the station, but is slow enough for people to jump into even when it is running. So the entire night is spent with the gang chasing the guys and Saroja, across abandoned factories, ramshackle buildings, dark alleys, etc, all gripping sequences, well shot and choreographed.
Although I am tempted to give away the ending, I shall resist myself from doing so as I would want all of you to please go ahead and watch this movie. Trust me on this one, there will be no regrets watching this particular movie more than once. Kudos to Venkat Prabhu for having had the guts to go out there and make a movie so completely different from most other Tamil movies being made nowadays. He started off this trend with Chennai 600028 and with Saroja proves that the first hit was not a flash in the pan. He is here to stay, and Tamil cinema must feel blessed and lucky to have people like him lead the resurgence. Venkat Prabhu, along with Mysskin (of Anjaathe fame) and Vetri Maran (of Polladhavan) fame are the new breed of film-makers who have the guts to think different and execute their ideas with aplomb in a commercially viable manner.