‘24’; Movie Review

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Once, long back we watched Anil Kapoor disappearing into thin air with a watch. Now, we watch Suriya disappearing, not into thin air but into another time zone. But to be fair, there ends the similarities between Mr. India and ‘24’.

Vikrak Kumar’s24’ is a sci-fi movie with an edge; The cutting edge of the modern science and technology with abundance of imagination and a wee bit of daring from the part of the director and the script writer. The concept of time travelling came to age with HG Wells telling us that if you could make a machine which travel faster than the light waves, we could visit our past, or present for that matter. But India has not experienced it in her own language so far, till today.

‘24’ is not exactly an original thought or theory. Surya with triple roles – twins and a son – also is not a novel idea. What makes ‘24’ quite different from what we have watched all our lives is its straight as an arrow presentation without any unnecessary paraphernalia, focusing on one thing, nurturing it buffing it and developing it into a full-fledged movie.  The poles-apart brothers(Suriya and Suriya) – one a simpleton genius and the other crooked as it gets, are not really important. The evil side winning for so many years is not important. Or the scientist’s son (Suriya, again), who survived all these years to get hold of the watch his father developed, which has a simple difference from the rest of the watches - it could take you to a different timeline – is not important. The evil uncle, still alive, who is trying to get that watch back to go back into the future and correct the mistakes he made, because he is not only mentally crooked now, but physically as well, is not important.(all of a sudden it sounds so much like The Lion King!!!!)  At the end of the day, what is important is how the cast and crew worked to make it so very plausible and even believable at times. That is where the movie’s USP lies.

Vikram Kumar as a director has worked wonders with the theme, giving it many layers, connected at the seams and giving the three characters of Suriya complete makeover and totality in character. The intricate subject also is handled with careful insight to make it not too much a science mumbo-jumbo, but simply making it light enough to reach the mass. With his own script, it was like a poetry to watch the actors performing within the parameter of his direction. The flow of the storyline with the unpretentious approach is the best thing from Vikram, which gives a Hollywood touch to the movie.

Suriya in the triple role is magnificent, with distinctly different approach to each one, adding his charm in each – the madcap scientist with not any particular awareness of the world beyond his lab, the twin brother Athreya with two faces, both stunningly expressed without much exaggeration, and the son, very down to earth, simple and effectively, the hero of the movie. His earlier acting techniques are forgotten and forcefully out of sight, which is such a relief. Samantha Prabhu has a meaty role, though nothing much is extracted out of her. Nithya Menon on the other hand has only an extended cameo, but has made the character memorable with her prowess. Saranya, Girish Karnad etc are a pleasure to watch, though the roles are strictly functional.

Thiruvarasan, the cinematographer is not seen too often this side of the world and ‘24’ feels his presence from the first shot of the movie, right to the end of it. His techniques with light and shadow, bird-view angles to worm view ones, short shots put together for that particular result, technological VFX, set art…… everything comes together to form a mosaic of fantastic ambience, which in my opinion is the movie is all about. The hours and says and months gone into his vision has borne fruit abundantly.

AR Rahman is in his pink, with the BGM and songs (were they necessary?). The scores are quite versatile, going with the emotions of the scene rather than the mood of the character. Editor Ravin Pudi also was an integral part of the movie getting so technically perfect with his thoughtful cuts and joints.

As the first attempt from the director at the sci-fi, ‘24’ had come out smelling like currency notes, indeed. And the argument of the purist that the love scenes and the comedy was redundant, does not hold water. The movie is made in India for Indian audience who prefer light moments in their movies, although they watch Transformer series without batting an eye.

It would be a crime to miss this film.

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