Films that delve into the actual nature of crime, the machinations of those involved in it, the virtual industry that is built around it, are very rare. Most films tend to go on a path where the hero’s saga of courage is more focused upon. Aanmai Thavarel is one film that attempts to portray the crime more than anything else and that makes it stand out.
Based on the woman trafficking nexus, Aanmai Thavarel follows the kidnapping of a young urban lady from a prominent public place in the wee hours of the day. The script traces the path that the ‘professional network’ takes in moving the victim rapidly away from the location, following what it seems like a well sketched plan that will leave even the police dumbfounded. At the same time, the script also shows how the police move in its trace for the victim; knowing where to knock for the right kind of information. But, political and administrative borders hinder fast movement of the investigation. How it all culminates? Is the girl retrieved? Or does she become just another ‘sold product’ taken up in an auction?
At first, congrats to the team for coming up with such a bold subject. The standard of execution of the plot in AT puts the film at a higher level. The director has a clear focus, to show the way in which crime and police operate, and he succeeds in most parts. The most interesting portion of the film are the kidnapping, subsequent movement of the victim, simultaneous tracking by the police and the final bidding process where the woman is put up for sale. These portions have been shot and edited at a tempo that keeps you riveted to the proceedings. The police investigation mechanism especially is interesting.
However, this good film is not without its pitfalls. The initial portion where there is a bit of romance between the hero and heroine does not impress much though one can understand that it is necessary for subsequent movement of the story. Thus, when you think that AT is one film that does not believe in unjustified hype or build up of its characters, comes the rather pompous introduction of a police officer. Things look very cinematic here. But, subsequent portions involving him are well shot and salvage proceedings. The biggest let down however is a bomb explosion from which a character inexplicably escapes unscathed and the climax fight which stops below mediocrity.
With all these shortcomings Aanmai Thavarel is still an interesting product which looks at film making from a different perspective. The debutante director shows skill that belies the fact that he has not apprenticed under anyone formerly. He must also be commended for keeping the film free from vulgarity, even while dealing with such a subject.
But, cast and performances could have been a shade better. The hero looks out of place and needs to work a lot on his emotions and reactions. Sampath is his usual intense self. Other technical aspects of the movie hold up well with the standards set by the script.
Aanmai Thavarel comes with a message. Crime has its roots deeper than we imagine. No matter how much the police or other forces try to curb it, crime will be part of our society. Our safety has to be guaranteed by none other than ourselves. In other words, ‘take care’.
Verdict: Compelling account of contemporary crime