Kuttram 23 (English: Crime 23) is a 2017 Indian Tamil crime thriller film written and directed by Arivazhagan. The film stars Arun Vijay and Mahima Nambiar in the lead roles, with Vamsi Krishna, Aravind Akash and Thambi Ramaiah amongst others in supporting roles. Produced by Inder Kumar along with Arun Vijay, the soundtrack album and background score for the film is composed by Vishal Chandrasekhar. The film was released worldwide on 3 March 2017 and was a profitable venture at the box office.
Kuttram 23 is slickly made pulp (the story is by crime novel specialist Rajeshkumar) that unfolds as a tense investigative thriller. It also provides us a delicious irony. Arun Vijay, who played an unrepentant criminal who indulges in medical crime in Yennai Arindhaal, is now on the other side, playing a cop whose investigation helps expose a medical crime racket! He is ACP Vetrimaran, who is handed over a sensitive case involving the disappearance of Jessica, a pregnant woman, who is the wife of TV channel boss. As Vetri starts investigating, he gets closer to Thendral (Mahima Nambiar), a witness in the case, on whom a murder attempt is made.
Meanwhile, on the home front, his sister-in-law, Abhinaya (Abhinaya) becomes pregnant after many years of marriage. However, she commits suicide and when Vetri probes, he realises that her death is connected to the murder of Jessica. And there are other pregnant women who have died under mysterious circumstances. What’s the link between these murders?
As he has shown since his debut Eeram, Arivazhagan has a flair for stylish visuals and with help from his cinematographer KM Bhaskaran, he has made Kuttram 23 a sleek film whose glossy frames look almost like they are from a TV commercial. But, unlike with his previous film, Aarathu Sinam, this time, his script is solid. It’s a testament to the script’s single-minded focus that even Thambi Ramaiah, who plays Vetri’s assistant and is mainly in the film to provide some humour, doesn’t stick out. And the performers and the crew are up to the task. Arun Vijay displays an intensity that is similar to what we saw from him in Yennai Arindhaal, and is effective as a determined cop. Mahima’s is a damsel in distress role, but she fits in perfectly. Vishal Chandrashekhar’s energetic score and Bhuvan Srinivasan’s nifty editing (a fight scene inside a hotel room is a standout) elevate the films moments of thrill.
The flaws are largely ones that are inherent to the genre. Since this is a whodunit, the final revelation feels rushed and when you think back on some of the developments in the film, they do not seem watertight. Then there are the issues of morality. This is a film that doesn’t bat an eyelid while saying that custodial deaths aren’t problematic (and are, in fact, the solution). And in trying to underline its message (adoption as an alternative for childless couples), it is also somewhat judgemental about couples who try to have a child through alternative pregnancy methods. But these are minor issues in a film that is immensely satisfying as a thriller from start to finish.
Directed by Arivazhagan
Produced by Inder Kumar
Screenplay by Arivazhagan
Based on Kuttram 23 by Rajesh Kumar
Starring Arun Vijay, Mahima Nambiar
Music by Vishal Chandrasekhar
Cinematography Bhaskaran K. M.
Edited by Bhuvan Srinivasan
Production Redhan The Cinema People
Distributed by Across Films
Release date March 3, 2017
Running time 135 minutes