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Inayathalam review: Social media crime thriller is badly handled and lacks clarity

Release Date: 19 May 2017 / Rated: U / 02hr 03min

Cinestaan Rating

Manigandan KR

Directors Shankar and Suresh seem to have failed to exploit a good story that could been so much more better.

Inayathalam is a crime thriller that looks to highlight the flip side of social media and the problems that arise due to social media addictions. It desperately makes an attempt to point out that social media addicts, in their eagerness to impress followers, are turning insensitive and becoming oblivious to the pain that others suffer.

Without doubt, the film’s ideals are lofty. It looks to draw attention to a problem that is fast growing, both in size and intensity. Sadly though, the manner in which the story has been narrated is not at all convincing, let alone being forceful enough.

Directors Shankar and Suresh seem to have failed to exploit a good story that could been so much more better, had they paid better attention to certain basic aspects of filmmaking.

Ganesh (Ganesh Venkatram), a high ranking police official is assigned on special duty to solve a sensational murder case. The case is sensational simply because the murder of the individual is telecast live on a website. In addition, the murderer puts out a marquee on his website saying that more the viewers, the faster his victim’s death will be.

Ganesh is asked to work with the cyber crime team that is headed by Helen (Swetha Menon) and Ganapathy (Erode Mahesh) as its technical head. Together, they try their best to save the victim (Delhi Ganesh), an elderly person who is active on social media, but are unable to do so as the server on which the website is hosted is masked. The team tries everything possible including employing ethical hackers to crack the code and track the website, but is unable to do anything about the murder or the murderer.

It is in these circumstances that soon, another victim is kidnapped. This time, it is a journalist with several enemies. His death too is telecast live with the same announcement  that his death will be faster if more people watch it. Despite the cops urging the public not to log into the website, several thousands log in to watch the crime for entertainment and out of curiosity. Eventually, the journalist is also killed.

The cops, meanwhile, come under pressure and draw flak for not being able to stop a criminal who is boldly broadcasting his crimes. The commissioner, under pressure from his higher ups, declares that he has no option but to suspend one of them. Ganapathy, who heads the technical team, chooses to be the scapegoat and is promptly suspended. He begins to help Ganesh and Helen, despite the suspension. However, his eagerness to nab the culprit does not go unnoticed and the criminal chooses Ganapathy as the next victim, leading the film to its eventual climax

While the film does have some good actors like Ganesh Venkatram, Swetha Menon, Sukanya, YG Mahendran and Erode Mahesh, the directors have failed to extract quality work from them. For instance, there is a sequence in which one of the main characters ends up getting killed. The character, whose body is placed on a sofa, is found opening and shutting its eyelids even as others mourn the person’s loss.

Then, some of those cast in other roles just don’t fit the bill. A case in point would be the senior officer that Ganesh reports to. The person playing the role is clearly out of sorts and has no idea as to how he should carry himself while playing a senior police officer. The film also has logical glitches to add to its list of woes.

For instance, after the first crime, the office of the commissioner of police in Coimbatore is shown giving one an impression that the crime has occurred in Coimbatore. However, suddenly, half way through, we learn that the team has all along been investigating the crime in Chennai. Lapses such as these do great damage to the film’s authenticity and in turn, its impact.

The film does have its pluses. The team has to be given credit for attempting to draw the public’s attention to such a serious issue. Then, actors like Ganesh Venkatram, YG Mahendra, Erode Mahesh and Sukanya do a fine job as their respective characters. Arrol Corelli’s background score and Karthik Raaja’s cinematography too add value to the film.

At the end of it all, one only wishes this story was handled with a lot more care and clarity.