Chennai 600028, directed by Venkat Prabhu is truly a perfect stress buster at any point of misery in life. I still remember the words of Thalaivar on the 100th Day celebration of this film that aptly describes it - "It's a film made by friends based on Friends". This film addresses various aspects of youth life from Friendship, Love, Fun, Rivalries and some Sports too. I think this film should be in everybody's bucket list of stress buster movies and here’s why.
Despite this film being his directorial debut, Venkat Prabhu has mastered the art of character development in it . Every character is a “person next door”, who is not only simple and realistic but also has a relevant contribution to the story. Be it the barber shop Manohar Anna/Mama/Chitappa/Periyappa who is the backbone of the Sharks team or Selvi, a typical teenage school girl. Each and every member of the Sharks team is someone we can relate to. Even if you take your own friends circle, you will definitely have an Aravind who always exaggerates and shows off his relationship or a Gopi who is attached to someone/something very sentimentally (a bat in this case).
Our life's circumstances and the way we react to it never remains consistent. Life is an irony that many films fail to address. But Chennai 28 doesn’t alienate that aspect. There are various ironic scenes in this movie that provides a comic relief to this paradox like the build up of Raghu (Jai) or their victory against the antagonists - Rockers in the Semi Finals but their failure to play a simple game with the Teenage Boys team (Bad Boys).
The most relatable part in this movie is the rivalry between Sharks and Rockers and the way they fight everywhere - be it a stadium, the street or a wine shop. As kids this is something we’d always do with our rival gang and so this raw portrayal of friendly rivalry instantly strikes a chord with us, the spectators.
One other attribute that makes this film so special is the album composed by Yuvan. Each song holds a special place in my life and has been one of the most played albums in my playlist. They perfectly suit various emotions, like Yaroo for Love or Saroja for some groove. Jalsa Pannunga is my all time favourite song because of how soothing it is. The Background score by Premji’s just goes on to elevate the album’s emotion.
Chennai '28 doesn't fall prey to the format of a cliched movie in it’s genre because of the depth added to the various other emotions in the movie like possessiveness, sentiments, misunderstandings and heartbreaks. Amidst the lows in life the break up of friendship is the hardest, which is beautifully conveyed in this movie. What lagged a little in the performance was made up for through the emotions conveyed in the story.
The little element of surprise is also interesting because nothing happens as per the plan or our predictions in the film. As a result even though the tone of the film leans more towards humour and satire, the climax still provides for a nail-biting experience.
There are also some added elements in the film that elevates the cinematic experience it provides. Like SPB's introductory narration, the Minister's role and his legendary offer, "bowling ah feeling ah" and obviously the cricket commentary by Badava Gopi! His comments like "Muttayil irundhu vandha kunju pol aadi kondu irukirar batsman" or "Mullai periyaara Vida peria aaru" can’t but keep you giggling and engaged till the last minute.
Every time we watch a feel good movie like Chennai '28, we either reminisce about the things that have happened in our life or regret the things that we’ve missed. This movie leans towards the first category where it takes us to a nice trip down the memory lane and eases us through its character arcs and comic timing. So the next time you feel stressed or over-worked, here’s one way to reduce it - Make yourself a nice snack, grab a cozy blanket and watch Chennai 28!