Abhimanyudu, Villain And Sandakozhi 2: Vishal Krishna’s Three Finest Movies

On the occasion of Vishal Krishna's birthday, here's looking at his three finest movies: Abhimanyudu, Villain and Sandakozhi 2

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Abhimanyudu, Villain And Sandakozhi 2: Vishal Krishna’s Three Finest Movies
ABHIMANYUDU (Tamil) : Information theft is epidemic. Go anywhere. It follows you. It is happening in homes where husbands are spying on wives’ phone data. It is happening with your Adhaar Card where data is stolen by anyone who cares to.A film, then, on the power of info-theft? Sounds good. And Vishal Krishan who has lately acquired a reputation for political activism, sinks into the role of Karthivaran an army personnel who is uncontrollably angered by corruption.When a bank loan goes horribly wrong (the plotting is so seamless that it goes fluently and fast from background information to in-your-face action) Karthivaran sets off a trail of animated pursuit that leads to an information-mafioso, Satyamoorthy (Arjun) a digital devil who wants to hack into every Indian’s life with the express purpose of controlling it. Every individual’s life, that is.

Abhimanyudu knocks the socks off the technology racket. Scarily the film suggests there is nothing private about any individual's life. We are all sitting ducks to violation of supposedly confidential performance. The film makes telling use of the data-hacking process. Shot with an eye for slickness that is never allowed to become a sickness, the film derides the misuse of digital technology without  getting excessively sassy, knowledgeable or stylish.The sharp-witted, straight-shooting screenplay is engrossing most of the way, creating pockets of havoc as Karthivaran takes on master-hacker Sathyamoorthy.For half the film the director, who seems to have grown up reading internet stories of cyber-hacking, ensures that the hero and the antagonist don’t come face-to-face. The buildup to their imminent confrontation is deftly projected into a series of engrossing episodes, each suggesting a link between privileged information and its violation.

The action sequences, especially one post-interval where the hero chases down his wrong-doers are first-rate, skilled in their build-up and yet preserving a kind of rawness at the edges that goes well with the mood of shocked revelations regarding the damage digital disinformation can do to our lives.

The presentation is smooth but the jagged edges in the inter-relations - for instance the troubled relationship between the hero and his financially troubled father - are not attempted to be blunted for the sake of a smooth ride. We are often subjected to uncomfortable interrogation on the way on why we randomly and liberally part with private information.

Preserving the pontifications at a minimum the narrative moves quickly to the action-packed second-half where the Hero and The Hacker clash in body and intellect. Vishal Krishna and Arjun make formidable adversaries. Their confirmation is agile and adrenaline-charged bringing to the screen a kind of compelling kinetic combustion rare to our cinema.

VILLAIN (Malayalam): Villain builds on Mohanlal’s power to express rage and grief without letting go. This time he plays his cat-and-mouse game on a sleek chessboard where the pieces are laid out neatly, a little too neatly, with all the plot points and emotional tropes indicated to us from afar.We really don’t need to strain our intellect or tap into our literary resources, although Shakespeare is casually brought up in a conversation.

For company, Mohanlal has Vishal Krishna, a remarkably engaging and intelligent actor who makes the bumper sticker wisdom of his rhetorical dialogues sound like lines borrowed from the latest episodes of Everybody Loves Raymond. I am not too sure if everybody would love Vishal Krishna’s Sakthivel, a smooth-talking doctor, and a portrait of moral ambivalence who stores some surprise that he lets out in the later portions of the plot.

This is a strong part for a co-star in a Mohanlal film and Vishal makes the best of it.

SANDAKOZHI 2 (Tamil): Vishal Krishna, rapidly growing into one of the more dependable star-actors of Tamil cinema, plays Balu, an NRI who must join his father’s outcast's business of being a law unto himself. The only difference between Kamal Haasan’s Thevar Magan and this enjoyable mass entertainer is the message of peace that emerges from the deftly staged action sequences.

The machete has always been a major player in Tamil action films. Here, it makes its presence felt in the climax where Vishal must battle the female antagonist hell-bent on revenge.

Predominantly, 'Sandakozhi 2' is a treatise on non-violence carpeted with vibrantly conceived action sequences. In one of them, Vishal in a crowded mela (which serves as the main location throughout the plot) tackles his opponents physically without letting his father and the other vigilant members of his gang know he is breaking the family rule: no violence.

Vishal takes centrestage in the revenge drama without hogging the limelight. Unlike his prominent peers from South Indian cinema, he doesn’t dominate every frame. On many occasions, Rajkiran playing the peace-loving patriarch is put centrestage, while Vishal - uniquely quiet in his assertions of heroism - is akin to Ajay Devgn. Both Vishal and Ajay believe action speaks louder than words.

Image Source: Imdb, youtube/thinkmusicindia/timesmusicsouth/sonymusicindia