When Vikram Kumar’s excellent time travel fantasy 24, starring Suriya, Samantha Akkineni and Nithya Menen, released four years ago, it didn’t exactly turn out to be the timeless hit it set out to be. Apart from a few pockets in the cities, the film fizzled, disappearing into the sands of time. It wasn’t exactly polarising in the classic sense of the term. People who loved it, really loved it. But the people at the other end did not hate it; they just didn’t get it.
There’s always going to be a risk when you make a complex time travel movie with the budget of a blockbuster. 24, in that sense, was not a Shankar time-travel movie. Which means that it wasn’t a time travel film that would explain the concept afresh to someone who hadn’t seen a film in that genre. It didn’t spend much of the first act in extensive exposition of its concept either. It instead trusted the audience to take the concept of time travel as a given and then go into an exciting story about two warring brothers and the ensuing revenge between a nephew and his uncle (think Lord Krishna-Kamsa or the plot of The Lion King).
So, if you’ve seen Back To The Future, you’re probably going to love what this film does with the concept in its own original sort of way. If you haven’t, then there’s no harm in using this time to acquire the taste for sci-fi fantasies. Indru Netru Naalai is a great place to start in Tamil. Bill And Ted’s Excellent Adventure is fun too. But why not try watching 24 again, but this time, with the luxury of the pause and rewind button?
Its pace, that of a mass action movie, is understandably daunting for the first-timer. But, with patience, it’s a film that can really grow on you. Play it like a game…rewind the bits that are confusing, to watch again, and fast forward through songs. It’s doubly fun because the remote in the hands of the viewer, is, in one sense, a time machine for the film and its characters. Given that we can’t go back in time to save the film, maybe, one can give it a chance now. Can’t you see the irony of calling a movie about a time machine “ahead-of-its-time”?