Director: Kuzhandai Velappan
Cast: Krishna, Swathi Reddy, Guru Somasundaram, Prakash Raj
Yaakkai (Body) begins intriguingly. Night. A terrace. The mood is lurid: the scene is bathed in neon-bright red and green. There's a car, but we don't see anyone around. Soon, it begins to pour. The thunder sounds like gunshots, like a prelude to violence – and then, the actual violence happens. A man steps out of the car (we don't see his face) and fixes it so that the vehicle (with the victim in the passenger seat) takes a plunge. The next scene, Prakash Raj turns up as the cop on the case, popping pills for his diabetes. A little later, the victim's son (Guru Somasundaram) lands up from the US, gargling words in his mouth to effect an American accent. Everything seems to be in place for a crackling murder investigation.
But the director, Kuzhandai Velappan, has other plans. We slip into an inane romance track, featuring Krishna and Swathi Reddy. When she faints in his arms after donating blood, he whips out his smartphone and grins, "Selfie time." Just as you've dismissed him as the kind of stalkery creep you find all too often in our films, he dons a Mickey Mouse mask and stands outside a store, to draw people in – he wants money to buy his girlfriend a gold chain with a heart-shaped pendant. You'd have said Awww!, but it would be drowned out by the solo violin playing in the director's head. He seems convinced he has an epic love story on his hands, while we twitch in our seats, wondering whatever happened to the investigation.
It comes and goes, and the only interesting aspect of the film, it turns out, is a trick built around the timeline of the narrative. But like everything else, it's not pulled off well. I left the theatre with profound sadness for the ill-used Guru Somasundaram, who was so spectacular as the eccentric who rails against injustice in last year's Joker. Look out for it. The trailer is below.