Chennai, 06 Apr 2017 15:30 IST
Director Sri Ganesh's film is a crime thriller that delivers an effective message on the flaws of the social system.
Director Sri Ganesh's 8 Thottakkal is much more than just a gripping, crime thriller. The film, while staying true to the story it seeks to narrate, showcases several ugly facets of the present day society.
The film begins with a young boy called Sathya being made a scapegoat in a criminal case. He is sent to a remand home for a crime he did not commit. Naturally, he develops an aversion for the police force. He grows up in the home and is cared for by a police officer, on whose insistence he eventually, and reluctantly, becomes a sub-inspector (played by Vetri).
The station he works in is headed by Inspector Gunasekaran (Mime Gopi), a selfish bully, who likes to intimidate and annoy everybody.
Gunasekaran, in particular, hates Sathya and makes no bones of the fact that he is looking for an opportunity to put him in a fix. Sathya’s fault? Well, there are two reasons. One, Gunasekaran is irked by the fact that Sathya refuses to be a part of a system that cops in the station have evolved to collect bribes. The second reason is Sathya’s decision to keep to himself, much to the annoyance of everybody at the station.
It is under these circumstances that one day, an elderly typist called Abdullah (RS Sivaji) comes to the station to lodge a police complaint. Abdullah says he wishes to complain against a wealthy jeweller for verbally abusing him. The cops, headed by Gunasekaran, instead of helping Abdullah get justice, make use of the situation to make money by threatening the jeweller.
However, Meera Vasudevan, a television journalist (played by Aparna Balamurali) highlights Abdullah’s plight on a television channel and exposes Gunasekaran’s misdeeds. An enraged Gunasekaran vents his anger on Abdullah's source of living, a typewriter.
Sathya, a silent witness to what has been happening until now, is moved by Abdullah’s plight and chooses to help him, along with Meera. Gunasekaran’s anger now turns to rage.
To punish him, Gunasekaran assigns Sathya the task of shadowing criminals. Every cop who is on this duty is assigned a service revolver with eight bullets. Sathya too signs the register and takes possession of the weapon assigned to him.
While shadowing a deadly criminal, his pocket is picked and the young sub-inspector loses the gun entrusted to him. Gunasekaran gives him just a day’s time to recover the weapon, thanks to the interference of another senior officer. Gunasekaran warns Sathya that if he cannot recover his weapon in a day, his career will come to an end.
Even as Sathya begins following the leads to get his weapon back, news breaks out that a daring bank robbery has been committed and that a child has been shot dead using a police pistol by one of the robbers during the robbery.
The cops soon form a special team headed by senior officer Pandian (played by Nasser) to recover the weapon, and nab the culprits involved.
8 Thottakkal shows how the vulnerable and compassionate individuals are often made scapegoats of a corrupt and ruthless system. The film also explains the futility of those trying to lead a life of integrity within this faulty system. Sri Ganesh's story captures the frustration that eventually transforms law abiding citizens into criminals. For all of these and more, director Sri Ganesh wins brownie points.
More importantly, Sri Ganesh has created his lead characters realistically. The director deserves credit for not modifying their behaviour to suit the taste of the audiences, who have got used to viewing their heroes and heroines in a stereotypical fashion.
For instance, Meera, who is in love with Sathya, looks to use the confidential information he shares with her about his case, to safeguard and retain her job in the TV channel. She betrays Sathya at a time when he is shattered, and is desperately looking for help from her.
The film has some fantastic acting performances. First among these is the role of police head constable Krishnamoorthy, played to perfection by MS Bhaskar. It’s a difficult role by any standards, but Bhaskar just seems to relish it. The character has several shades to it. As a wronged individual, as a regretful husband, a forgiving father, a vengeance seeking employee, a shrewd planner and an unforgiving gangster, Bhaskar is just brilliant. He has no hassles whatsoever showcasing each of these facets of his character with absolute class.
The next best performance is that of Nasser as Pandiyan, who lives the role of an investigating officer. Like many other excellent performances, this too is one for the record books.
Newcomers Vetri and Aparna Balamurali do a good job with both looking their parts.
Dinesh K Babu’s cinematography is excellent while music director Sunderamoorthy’s music is just about okay.
On the whole, 8 Thottakal (Eight Bullets) is one wholesome entertainer that finds its mark.