‘Yatchan’ – so promising yet disappointing (IANS Rating – **)

Film: “Yatchan”; Language: Tamil; Director: Vishnuvardhan; Cast: Arya, Krishna Kulasekaran, Deepa Sannidhi, Swathi Reddy, Adil Hussain, Thambi Ramaiah, RJ Balaji, Ponvannan and S.J Suryah; Rating: **

On paper, the premise of “Yatchan” — a story about two guys whose lives are swapped by an accident when they cross paths — sounds so promising. But on screen, it isn’t half as promising because it’s a film that doesn’t take itself too seriously.

There’s lot of black comedy, in the most serious scenes and at the most unexpected junctures of the film.

Take the scene where Krishna accidentally boards the car that’s waiting for Arya for instance. Krishna plays an aspiring actor; one who’s so enthusiastic that he reminds you of someone always high on adrenaline. On that particular day, he’s supposed to take a car to a film studio where his future as an actor awaits. Krishna is mistaken for a paid killer, and the car he boards takes him to a market where he’s asked to kill someone. He resists, and a fight ensues, ending the scene so predictably. But here’s what I liked about it.

Even before Krishna gets to become a real actor, he does all that is usually expected of a Tamil cinema hero. In the auditions, he gets an emotional scene, and he aces it. In the market, he risks his life to save a girl. There’s a fight scene in the rain. Some of the best action scenes in Tamil cinema have had rain backdrop. Unknowingly, Krishna gets to live the life of a hero, which he doesn’t realise, but director Vishnuvardhan wants us to pay attention to it.

Arya plays a die-hard Ajith Kumar fan. He owes people a lot of money. A day before the release of an Ajith film, he borrows money to celebrate with much fanfare. He accidentally kills someone, flees the town and lands in Chennai. In the most unexpected fashion, he gets an opportunity to act with none other than Ajith himself.

It’s a series of accidents that brings Arya and Krishna together. Their lives cross paths over their love for cinema. And that’s precisely why they come to Chennai; the heart of Tamil cinema. When Arya auditions, he struggles to perform. And you realise talent is, after all, not a prerequisite to be an actor. Sometimes when you’re in the right place at the right time, things just fall in place.

I wish the film capitalised on these promising moments. There’s a sub-plot about politics and it shows how dirty people in it can get. The political references reminded me of last week’s Tamil release “Paayum Puli”, in which a son blinded by politics doesn’t hesitate to kill his own father. In “Yatchan”, for similar reasons, a brother kills his own brother.

Adil Hussain makes his Tamil film debut as the antagonist, and you wonder what must’ve attracted him most about the role that hardly makes any impact. Arya’s potential is wasted in a role where he tries to be funny, but seriously isn’t. Krishna and Swathi get the meatier parts and they’re quite good, while Deepa is best ignored in her role with psychic powers.

“Yatchan” works in bits and pieces, but never on the whole. Even with an interesting premise, it’s disappointing that the film ends so predictably.

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