Onaaigal Jaakiradhai promised a generic horror film. For close to three-fourths of its 125-minute runtime, the film indeed is horrific but I do not mean this in a satirical way at all. The film shows the depravity of the human soul and the depths it plumbs in pursuit of what it truly wants. To market a film as a horror thriller and provide such a turn might be termed by some as a cheap ploy but I guess all is fair in cinema as long as it hits home.
The plot is quite simple. A ragtag gang of four have their problems in life and each of them needs money. One needs it for his father’s surgery, another to close a loan he borrowed from an usurer, the third for his daughter’s future and the final member to ensure that the lie of him being a rich businessman lives on. This liar is played by the protagonist, Azhagu (Kabali Viswanth), whose sister and brother-in-law have a daughter, Anjali, they dote on.
Despite this, Viswanth lusts after the couple’s money and sees kidnapping his niece as an easy way to solve all their (the group of four) problems in one go. That Anjali was born after 16 years of marriage to her parents makes them an easy, soft target. The twist comes when we are shown how greed manifests itself in the minds of the kidnappers, after they realise how desperate the parents really are to see their daughter.
Unfortunately for the film, the shifting sands approach employed in the minds of kidnappers does not stay there and instead seeps into the actual writing and we are given an ending fully replete with talismans and sanctum sanctorum rules, followed by ghosts. The theatre broke out into unintentional laughter the moment they saw the face of a ghost with chalk makeup and I couldn’t help wonder if the message that the director had built up slowly had been decimated by the farcical climax.
It is not like the film is not without any other problems, what with low angle shots, arc shots and aerial shots all abused to such a degree. It gets you wondering if the makers really thought they could get away with as much repetition. The deliberate pacing of the film also doesn’t help. As we were leaving the theatre, one audience member wondered out loud if it was a tele-film instead of a feature film. There is a saying in Game of Thrones that goes, “The lone wolf dies and the pack survives”, and I have to say that this wolf could have survived if it was pack-aged better.