Director: U Anbarasan
Cast: Sibi Sathyaraj, Samuthirakani, Natarajan Subramaniam, Shirin Kanchwala
There comes a time in star kids’ lives when they act in movies with titles that are essentially the cinematic equivalent of the question, “Tujhe pata hai, mere baap kaun hai?” So, we got Abhishek Bachchan doing Dostana, Pranav Mohanlal doing Irupathionnaam Nootaandu and Vikram Prabhu doing Veera Sivaji and Vellaikaara Durai.
For Sibi, this situation seems to be recurring, given that he has already starred in movies such as Vetrivel Sakthivel and Kattapava Kaanom. Add to that list this week’s Walter, which alludes to his father Sathyaraj’s superhit Walter Vetrivel. Oh, and we’re already prepared for Dhruv Vikram’s next film to be titled Pithamaganin Magan.
What this does, however, is set the actor up for constant comparison. This is inevitable in Walter, where Sibi plays a no-nonsense upright cop, like his father did over a quarter century ago. But both the director and the actor seem to have taken the term ‘upright’ far too seriously because you see the constant effort Sibi takes to stand erect to play the part of the ACP of Kumbakonam. He also gets a thick moustache, a Bullet, a kada, and that all-important feet-first entry scene, but it’s still very hard to buy him as the supercop he’s meant to be.
And that’s mainly because he gets nothing really to work with. Apart from the fact that he’s dutiful, obedient and honest, the only thing we learn about this cop is that his bedroom is covered with hundreds of pictures of his girlfriend, shaped to form a massive heart.
Which brings me to this film’s love track, which is shockingly banal even by Tamil cinema standards. Rajeshwari (Shirin Kanchwala) plays that constantly annoyed girlfriend who is upset that her super-busy boyfriend makes no time for her. We learn nothing about her either, apart from the fact that she’s got a lot of time on hand and that her bedroom is filled with dozens of cute teddy bears in all shapes and sizes. Had she taken any other moment to show her annoyance to her mostly absent boyfriend, instead of just after a love montage where they basically do everything together, we may have perhaps understood her plight. Now, what if this was just the second-worst instance of song placement in this movie?
When Walter is tired and shocked at the sudden disappearance of several babies under his watch, he comes home and ignores Rajeshwari, who is standing right there. This worried man walks into his bathroom to take a shower with his clothes still on, and that’s when we get a steamy lovemaking song. Do you now see what I mean about him always being upright, and on duty?
Terrible love tracks are something we’re used to by now, but what if the investigation part of this cop thriller isn’t much to speak of either? Early on, when Walter is assigned an ‘encounter’ killing of a seemingly honest politician, he doesn’t ask questions or wonder why he’s being asked to do this. He just goes ahead and shoots the man from really far away using… a pistol. He’s not much of a follow-up person either, after he realises that these missing babies are being returned to their rightful parents. Come to think of it, he does really little to actually help with the investigation, apart from being the point of contact for the bad guys to exact revenge.
The film’s only novelty, about a corrupt politician and a rare blood group, is so contrived it quickly stops making sense. Despite the film’s interesting idea for a two-hero subject, what we see is a watered-down version where the twists are predictable and the staging is flat-out amateurish. Stuck undecidedly between a mass cop movie and an investigative thriller, Walter is not more than just another copout.