I’m kind of like a sniffer dog when it comes to crime films. I start looking for clues from the first scene itself. And when there’s a good thriller in the center of it, I’m all the more enthused by the offering.
In August, 2016, I caught the trailer for Dhuruvangal Pathinaaru. It was fresh in terms of trailer-cuts. It seemed as though only Rahman (protagonist) knew all the answers to the questions he was asking in the trailer. Was he a detective, or a killer? After the initial ripple-effect, the trailer settled in the bottom of the YouTube Ocean. Interesting factors about the movie weren’t much as the sole known face in the movie was Rahman. The names of other cast and crew members didn’t help in getting the movie noticed.
D-16 started making noise again in the last week of December. I remember seeing Twitter moguls praising the movie to the skies. Those glorious tweets intrigued my investigative senses. I finally unearthed the gem of a mystery a couple of days ago. I re-watched the trailer to find out that I had been fooled by the film team. Almost half of the things the trailer says are misleading. Was it done that way deliberately to keep the suspense intact? Or, did some changes take place between the release of the trailer and the release of the film? I’d have to ask the filmmaker.
Karthick Naren is going to be stated as an example for the ‘follow your heart’ philosophy as his directorial debut has been creating quite a storm at the film circles. It’s heartening to see a young man make a film with so much conviction that it rattles the very foundation of commercial cinema. When was the last time you digested an Indian thriller without unnecessary songs, useless action sequences, and punch dialogues choking you? My head mentions the Sivaji Ganesan starrer Andha Naal. Well, that was made 63 years ago. Upcoming screenwriters must learn a thing or two from the books of Karthick’s spectacular ideas on moviemaking so that they don’t include a boxful of clichés in a thriller.
Come to D-16. It’s a whole new world here. The plot revolves around a murder and a missing person. So, Rahman’s job is to discover the loopholes and nab the murderer. While discussing the details of the crime, he gives his assistant a hypothesis, a good one which fits like a glove. But here’s the catch. It’s just a theory. It can’t be taken at face value. It needs proof. Just when the viewers begin to piece together the puzzle of the uneventful night, bam, there’s a twist. The director isn’t satisfied with telling you ‘what happened’. He’ll take you to the scene of the crime and reveal the bits that lead up to the wicked climax by showing you ‘how it happened’.
The energetic assistant who forgets to ask Rahman’s residential address, the uncouth youth who thinks he can get away with anything, the newspaper delivery man who tells the police a small part of the truth he knows, the friend of the missing girl who lies through her teeth are some of the characters who convincingly pull us into Karthick’s web of narration.
Don’t we all brighten up when such steamy thrillers are made? D-16 is brilliantly written and executed. Any other actor in Rahman’s place would have overplayed, or underplayed his character. Rahman does it with just the right amount of gumption and gravitas. He showed a similar streak of excellence by giving what’s required for the character in Manikandan’s Kuttrame Thandanai, as well. Do crime films give the actor in him a high, too?
If Karthick’s first film is this nail-bitingly earnest, I wouldn’t waste a second to book tickets for his next outing. In a recent Facebook post, he also mentioned that talks were on for a remake in Telugu with one of the top stars of Telugu cinema. He added that he wouldn’t helm the remake as he felt that it wasn’t healthy for a creator to work on the same screenplay again. His head is clearly on his shoulders. How else would a debutant make a whale of a statement like that? Hat tips to his thoughts!
Written by - Karthik Keramalu