U-Turn: A Slow-Paced Yet Faithful Remake
Movie Review by Trijai Nerthi (Rocheston Certified Movie Critic)
Directed by Pawan Kumar, U-Turn is a remake of the Kannada film of the same name helmed by the same director. The Tamil remake has Samantha Akkineni, Aadhi Pinisetty, Rahul Ravindran and Bhumika Chawla in lead roles. Unlike the director’s Lucia, which was remade ordinarily in Tamil, this remake stays faithful to the original. With time, the tale and its characters grow on you. Sure, the film might not be as fast paced as one expects it to be, but not one second does it bore you. This by itself says a lot about the expertise of the renowned director.
Rachna (Samantha), an intern at a mainstream newspaper sets out to wholeheartedly cover her first story on traffic violations. She makes a note of all those who violate the traffic rules by taking an illegal U-turn on the Velachery bridge. Soon, Rachna is taken into police custody after the death of the first traffic violator she tries to get in touch with. She lands herself in much more trouble as the police discover that all the people on her list have been murdered. Rachna and police officer Nayak (Aadhi Pinisetty) then set off to unravel the mystery behind these deaths to prove the former’s innocence. The mind-boggling twists they encounter and the shocking discoveries they make in this investigation forms the crux of this story.
Director Pawan Kumar’s detailing in his screenplay and his subtle way of executing it is extremely admirable. There isn’t one unnecessary scene in U-Turn. It doesn’t claim to stay adapted to the original for the Tamil audiences by simply adding a dance number. It takes up a no-nonsense approach and jumps right into the story. This ability to include, withhold and reveal only what is necessary is what showcases the director’s clarity and expertise.
If you dig deeper, you will find that most of Rachna’s conversations and the places she goes to in the first half almost always have the road in the background as a silent character. The moment the deaths get connected to her presence, the importance of these roads come into play clearly. This manner of using setups and payoffs to narrate the story with its essence intact is commendable.
One of the other praiseworthy aspects of the film is the simplicity of the story. It unfolds by introducing us to a journalist investigating traffic violations before gradually transforming into a full-fledged thriller. Its humble beginning makes you realize that stories are everywhere. Hiding in the nooks and crannies of our mundane existence. It is up to the eye of the beholder to recognize these stories and unravel the mysteries they hold.
However, U-Turn isn’t entirely without faults either. Take for instance it’s pacing. From start to finish the film travels quite slowly. For those who come expecting the usual speedy thriller pacing might be left disappointed. Thankfully, this slow pacing never makes the film boring even for an instant.
After a while, one can easily predict the mystery behind these murders but the director creates enough tension to hold you to your seats till the climax.
One of the other aspects of the film that might be problematic is the characters. Since most of them happen to be a part of an upscale circle, there is a possibility that one might not relate to them as much. Their names too are not the ones you cannot remember coming across in a city like Chennai.
Nevertheless, these are minor flaws that can be overlooked when the bigger picture holds such promise. You can’t help but admire the director’s decision to center this tale around a female lead. The damsel in distress here is traded for a man who needs saving. It is quite a delight to be a witness to such a rare turn of events. Hopefully, U-turn will open many such doors for the women in Tamil cinema.
As Rachna, Samantha is bold, free-spirited and full of conviction. She steps into her character effortlessly and sees it through in a justified manner. Actors like Aadhi Pinisetty and Rahul Ravindran are quite convincing as well. One of the major strengths of U-Turn is the performance of each of these seasoned actors.
As far as technicalities go, U-Turn fares impressively. Whether it is Niketh Bommireddy’s enthralling visual storytelling or Suresh Arumugam’s editing, the technical aspects are always on point with the plot. They uplift the film in many crucial scenes. Poorna Chandra Tejaswi’s music is quite fitting too.
On the whole, U-Turn stays true to the original. Chances are, if you haven’t watched the Kannada version, you will find the film all the more entertaining and suspenseful than it already is.