Film: “24”; Cast: Suriya, Samantha Ruth Prabhu, Nithya Menen, Ajay, Saranya Ponvannan; Director: Vikram Kumar; Rating: ***1/2
Vikram Kumar has a fascination for time and it has been a recurring factor in most of his films including “13 B”, “Manam” or the latest Suriya-starrer “24”, which is a cleverly written, inventive thriller set against the backdrop of time-travel concept, and it’s made in such a way that it appeals as a commercial potboiler too. And there hasn’t been a better Indian filmmaker who has made use of the time angle in his stories as creatively as Vikram.
Early on, we’re introduced to Sethuraman (Suriya), a famed scientist whose acclaimed invention, a watch, aids in traveling within time. His evil twin brother, Aathreya (Suriya), wants the watch at all cost, even if it means by killing his brother and his family. However, things take an unexpected turn when Sethuraman manages to save the watch and his son by sacrificing his own life.
Cut to 26 years later, and Aathreya upon waking up from a coma, tracks down the new owner of the watch and it happens to be Sethuraman’s son, Manikandan (Suriya, again), who is a watchmaker. With the help of his trusted aide, Aathreya plots a conniving plan to get the watch and go back into the past to rewrite his destiny.
It takes no ordinary filmmaker to make “24”, and Vikram is a genius, whose truly ambitious vision is aptly backed by Suriya in triple roles, top-notch visual effects and production design.
The film’s ability to charm and thrill its viewer is what makes it unique, and at the same time it also appeals to the masses by introducing a romantic sub-plot, which is partly silly and cute. Like the first time when Mani meets Satya (Samantha), it’s love at first sight, but things don’t pan out the way he wants. So he revisits the first meeting, over and over again, and the way this scene unfolds is so much fun to watch and equally creative. However, there are a few similar scenes that are unnecessarily dragged, forcing the audience to become restless.
Suriya, after the dismal shows for “Anjaan” and “Mass”, is terrific in “24”. It takes a star more than just risk to attempt something as complex as “24”, but Suriya is an exception and sincere when it comes to experimenting and that’s why most of his roles have stayed for long with the viewers.
Although the romance portion is a bit of a downer, the film still works more or less, thanks to the seamless narration, Suriya’s applaud-worthy performance, particularly as the evil and wicked Aathreya, and some great visuals and Rahman’s music.