Mysskin gets his mojo back and more with ‘Onayum Aatukuttiyum’ (kinda, sorta nod to Tom Cruise’s “Collateral”) and comes up with possibly the finest Tamil crime/suspense thriller, a genre our Directors rarely pick up, let alone deliver. Be warned, this is not the thriller in the traditional sense. It departs from many cliches that this kind of genre cling to, for fear of losing the audience. Myskkin demands a lot from us, but when you stay with him, he does not disappoint.Mysskin (Wolf) doubles as the lead character, an escaped convict on the run, whose motives aren’t immediately obvious, but pealed layer by layer with delicious timing. In typical mystery thriller style, we follow “Wolf” through the eyes of Chandru (Sri), who gets caught in between the cops and “Wolf”.

Mysskin throws in some well fleshed minor characters that shine in their own right. CB CID Officer Lal (Shaji), gets the best treatment of them all. His nuanced performance, natural dialogues and Malayali-thamizh tongue are such a treat.

Something else that Myskkin is so good at is how his police procedural are detailed. There is a meticulousness about how each of his police characters think and act; also their interactions seem clearly informed by careful observations.

Balaji V Rangha’s cinematography goes hand-in-glove with Mysskin’s obsession with taunting us by placing characters out of focus, out of frame and have them look in/speak directly at us. ‘Onayum Aatukkityum’ offers Mysskin and company another opportunity to shoot Madras in the night, again something most directors either don’t get or mess up. There is a particular scene where the flower vendor, busy tying together her மல்லி பூ, occupies prominent part of the frame, while the main action happens deep on the left side of the screen. Such idiosyncrasies come in unannounced with every other scene.

Myssking fortunately returns to Illayaraja for a song-less ‘Onayum Aatukkutiyum’. Illayaraja goes the whole range, from the unleashing chaos with the orchestra (reminds us of what Bernard Herrmann did for Hitchcock) for an unsettling start, to the controlled throb towards the end. Who cares if Illayaraja can’t come up with songs worth remembering, anymore; as far as background scores, he lets it be known he’s still the king.

 

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