Suttu Pidikka Utharavu
Suttu Pidikka Utharavu: A Fairly Entertaining Action Film With An Interesting Premise & Sub-Par Staging
Movie Review by Trijai Nerthi (Rocheston Certified Movie Critic)
Director Ramprakash Rayappa has proved his mettle as a storyteller with potential through his first two films Tamizhuku En Ondrai Azhuthavum (2015) and Pokkiri Raja (2016). Both these films had an interesting premise which was watered down with conventional Tamil cinema cliches to make it an average film. In Suttu Pidikka Utharavu, the storyteller in director Rayappa has grown and learned from his mistakes. Unfortunately, though, the director in him is yet to see light. Suttu Pidikka Utharavu is a fairly entertaining film with a great climax twist. But it could’ve been a phenomenal entertainer had it been staged and executed with much more finesse. Barring the outdated narrative, the film still has enough meat on the bones to keep your mind intrigued and interested in its proceedings.
Suttu Pidikka Utharavu opens with a bank robbery being carried out by Ashok (Vikranth) and Selva (Suseenthiran). Right before they can flee the crime scene, police officer Ibrahim (Mysskin) and his team try and chase them down. This cat and mouse chase begins from the car parking area of the bank and extends to a nearby slum board neighborhood which is soon surrounded by the police. In the same area, a group of terrorists is on the verge of executing a bombing mission. Whether or not Ibhrahim and his team crack both these cases and bring them to a halt forms the crux of the film.
Director Ramprakash Rayappa uses two parallel story tracks in the film to create tension. One involves the cat and mouse chase between two bank robbers and the police officers. The other track is centered on a group of terrorists who are determined to execute their bombing mission. These two plot points work wonderfully to bring alive the kind of suspense that is interlaced with the screenplay itself. Embedded within the screenplay are elements like real-life locations, character actors, religion politics and a critical look at the digital age. These elements help solidify the interesting premise and bring together a story that holds the potential to sustain the interest of the audience from the beginning to the end.
However, the interesting plot falters in many places because of the ineffective staging. Many red herrings in the narrative don’t work in the manner the director intended it and in many places, certain plot elements seem to have been included just to appease the commercial film-loving audiences. For instance, the whole track involving Bhuvana is completely unnecessary. It disrupts the swift pace of the film and takes attention away from the central conflict. To leave you all the more disappointed, Bhuvana is written to be calm when a comment that objectifies her physical appearance is directed towards her by a media professional in the film. So, at times, the moral commentary becomes inconsistent.
The making of the film feels outdated. The over-the-top reaction shots especially remind you of the ‘90s style of filmmaking. But there are portions that help balance such errors too. A perfect example of this is how the director establishes the surroundings of a bank through the fine sound design in the opening scene. Many such plot elements in the film are balanced. In an era where religious disputes have become a common occurrence, it decent of the director to have balanced a Muslim antagonist with a Muslim protagonist. The same balance can be observed in the presence of dim-witted and intelligent cops as well.
Certain aspects of Suttu Pidikka Utharavu don’t make sense for a point of time. Why do the police officers make such horrible jokes? Why aren’t they cracking much more intelligent strategies? How is Vikrant’s character calm enough to make video calls to his daughter amidst this chaos? The answers to many of these questions are tied together in the impressive climax twist.
As Ibrahim, Mysskin is brilliant. He brings to his character an unabashed sense of eccentricity. He steps into the skin of the character he plays effortlessly, thus making it impossible to differentiate between the actor and the character. In the film’s weak moments, Mysskin’s terrific acting is what keeps you on your seat. For example, in a scene, when he says “Shoot one of those media reporters and report them as collateral damage”, you laugh whole-heartedly as his reaction is simply a reflection of what you feel at that point of time. As Selva, Suseenthiran makes his acting debut. His performance is great for a first-timer and from his next outing, he should be more at ease in front of the camera. As Ashok, Vikrant captures the gentle personality of his character. But his acting is neither too great or bad. As Bhuvana, Athulya’s portrayal is average. Her character’s arc itself feels forced in a film that could’ve been better off without it.
Jakes Bejoy’s background score falls in line with the film’s theme. Sujith Sarang’s cinematography captures the essence of the real locations in the film, bringing alive a convincing sense of chaos and restlessness to the narrative. His shots of the action are especially well-taken. Complimenting the appealing visual story-telling is Dinesh Kasi’s terrific stunt choreography. The chase starting from the Bank’s parking area to the slum board has been imagined and executed masterfully by the choreographer. The editing is a tad choppy and it jumps from one shot to another at full speed, creating unnecessary confusion.
On the whole, Suttu Pidikka Utharavu is a film with an interesting premise and a sub-par execution. If you manage to look past the errors in its making, you are bound to enjoy this fairly entertaining film.