Director Kamalakannan Vattam has a handsome Sibi Sathyaraj in his happiest role, plenty of drone shots of scenic Coimbatore, and a gorgeous car. These are probably the only good things I will take away from this very disappointing job. It doesn’t take us long to realize that this ‘hyperlink thriller’ has tracks that aren’t actually related to each other and that their point of convergence is so contrived that it makes us furious and annoyed, instead of amuse us.
With: Sibi Sathyaraj, Andrea Jeremiah, Athulya Ravi, Vamsi Krishna
Broadcast on: Disney+Hotstar
Mano (Sibi) decides to get drunk to death the day before his ex-girlfriend’s (Athulya) wedding but gets kicked out of the wine shop. One would expect him to crush the reception, given that he is not a man of high values and on top of everything, he got screwed. But, he goes on to kidnap a random businessman named Gautham (Vamsi Krishna) whom he meets and ends up trading Gautham’s wife, Parvathy (Andrea), as a hostage. Well, the luck doesn’t stop there. Parvathy and Mano start arguing about true love, safety in life, chauvinism and feminism in the most inorganic and dramatic way possible. When I say ‘drama’ it’s clearly not an exaggeration, as Andrea often switches to ‘thooya tamizh’ to make a point to her captor! Oh, there’s also a detour involving a group of fired computer scientists, who are also in the mood for a kidnapping. But their story barely develops as the creator himself chooses to focus only on the muddled Parvathy-Mano conversation and Mano’s mundane love story. Come to think of it, the title Vattam largely looks like a self-mockery of the film’s makers, as the story goes nowhere and only spins in “circles”.
The movie wouldn’t have been so difficult to watch if director Kamalakannan had decided to have fun with the limited story and write characters who don’t take themselves seriously. But what is in the offering is just the opposite. Almost all of the characters firmly believe that they are social justice crusaders, but they only succumb to the evil they claim to be fighting.
Why doesn’t Andrea take a smarter detour and escape even when she had the car under her control? How does Gautham’s family stay asleep during the kidnapping episode? Why doesn’t he try to get help from the police, especially when he knows the location of the kidnapper? If one were to complain about plot flaws, it would potentially turn into a bigger rant session than what we see on screen.
Mano from Sibiraj is a man who is keen on getting his closures. Whether it’s a relationship or just a conversation, he gets angry when left in the dark. But I guess we the audience have more reason to be enraged than Mano, because the whys and hows on our side clearly outweigh his struggles.