Chennai, 01 Sep 2017 23:51 IST
Splendid performances by P Bharathiraja, PL Thenappan, Vidharth, Delna Davis, Kumaravel and Krishna Moorthy bring to life a thrilling story told exceptionally well by newcomer Nithilan.
Kurangu Bommai is a smartly made crime thriller with a just-about-adequate dose of cute romance. It is hard to believe that this film, with so much class, has been made by a newcomer called Nithilan, whose only experience until now was making a few short films.
Vidharth plays a call taxi driver working in Chennai. His parents, played by veteran director P Bharathiraja and actress Rama, are settled in their native village. Vidharth's father works in a timber store run by Ekambaram (played by producer PL Thenappan). The store is just a front. Ekambaram's primary business is smuggling antiques.
Though Ekambaram is a ruthless smuggler who instils fear in the hearts of other gangsters and the public, he has a soft corner for Vidharth's father, a naive and trustworthy employee who has been with him since he was a youngster. The bond between the master and his employee is special. Though Ekambaram is involved in many illegal activities, he does not involve his favourite employee in any of them.
Vidharth's character, however, disapproves of his father working for a criminal and keeps insisting that he sever all ties with Ekamabaram. The older man finds it difficult to do this. He hopes to slowly distance himself from his employer and then leave. His greatest desire now is to see his son married. He and his wife start looking for a bride.
During their search, they call on the family of a young woman played by Delna Davis. For a while it seems as if both families like each other. However, things change quickly. While Delna's and Vidharth's characters take a liking for each other, their parents end up fighting. The reason for the disagreement is Ekambaram. The bride's father says he cannot give his daughter in marriage to a man whose father might end up getting arrested. A bitter quarrel ensues and the families part ways.
Life goes on. Then, one day, Ekambaram gets a precious antique, the price of which is Rs5 crore in the black market. The statue has to be taken to Chennai and handed over to a middleman (Elango Kumaravel) who in turn will hand it over to the buyer and pay Ekambaram.
Ekambaram knows this is a prize catch but is unsure whom to send on the errand. He cannot trust any of his regular couriers with the statue. After much deliberation he decides that only a loyal employee like Vidharth's father can be trusted with such an expensive package. Vidharth's father agrees to go to Chennai on his boss's instructions. Without informing his wife and son, he leaves home at night with the statue in a bag with the picture of a smiling monkey. What happens thereafter is what the film is all about.
Kurangu Bommai (Monkey Toy) has some extraordinary performances. Bharathiraja as Vidharth's father and Thenappan as Ekambaram are fantastic. Both live their roles. Their performances are so natural that you almost believe you are watching a documentary. Cameraman Abhinav Sundar Nayak and director Nithilan seem to have understood the value of their expressions and made the most of them by retaining close-ups of both in crucial sequences.
Three others contribute vastly with their acting. The first is Vidharth, who, for some reason, hasn't yet got the recognition he deserves. The man just nails it with this performance. Next in the list is Delna Davis. The young woman, who has the girl-next-door look, makes her eyes do a lot of the talking. Last but not the least is Elango Kumaravel, who showcases a completely different facet of his in this film. Kumaravel, who has already established himself as a good actor, shows what a talented artiste can do when given a role with immense scope.
Ajinish Loknath's music is just right for the film. But it is the dialogues that really stand out. Full marks to Madon Ashwin who has written the dialogues of this gripping crime thriller that keeps you on the edge of your seat till the end.
On the whole, this Kurangu Bommai deserves to play in the theatres for a long time.