Director: Sarjun. Cast: Priya Bhavani Shankar, Shirish, Kishore, Panchu Subbu and Vinoth.
Director Sarjun’s ‘Blood Money’ is a reasonably well-made thriller that revolves around the efforts of a team of Indian journalists looking to save two innocent men from being sent to the gallows in a foreign country.
The story begins with an elderly couple in a rural part of the country getting a phone call, saying that both their sons are to be hanged in Kuwait the next day. The mother of the men is distraught as she does not know how to stop her sons from meeting their end in a land, the customs of which she knows very little about.
At the other end, the two imprisoned men too are completely heartbroken. The eldest son, Kaliyappan (Kishore), is yet to see the face of his young daughter, whom he loves dearly. It suddenly dawns on him that his dream of meeting his child one day could end up being just a dream.
The parents of the men decide to approach the district administration for help. Even as the official process is set in motion, an officer of the district administration, who realises that they have very little time on their hands, chooses to make a video of the old woman appealing for help and shares it on a WhatsApp group.
This video clip makes its way to the mobile of Rachel (Priya Bhavani Shankar), a television journalist who is badly missing her dad whom she lost as a child. The old woman’s appeal moves Rachel and she decides to help the Indian prisoners in any way she can. She begins to investigate the case with help from her teammates. With just hours to go for the hanging, will Rachel and her teammates be able to unearth facts and stop the hanging? ‘Blood Money’ gives you the answers…
‘Blood Money’ works primarily because of the manner in which the story is narrated. It is engaging and moves at a brisk pace, thanks to some neat, tight sequences. The credit for having narrated this story so well must go primarily to its screenplay writer Shankar Das, whose dialogues are not only short but also significant and its editor Prasanna G K, who keeps the plot tight and gripping.
Kishore, who plays one of the convicts, does a fantastic job as does actor Shirish, who plays the journalist Sudhan. However, the credit for carrying this film on her shoulders should go to Priya Bhavani Shankar, who plays journalist Rachel with absolute ease and elegance. Her experience as a television journalist before turning an actress seems to have come in handy for Priya, who delivers a commanding performance in this film.
On the technical front, Sathish Raghunandan’s music for the film is apt and the number that is played right at the end of the film is mellifluous.
Director Sarjun’s victory lies in the fact that he’s picked the right people for the right jobs.
‘Blood Money’ is inspired by a real life incident. However, the team has exaggerated certain portions to add to the drama and this definitely does more harm than good to the film’s interests — a case in point being the manner in which decisions are shown being made in a newsroom and the editor choosing to air a story that the CEO has ordered to take down.
‘Blood Money’ might have its share of problems but on the whole, it works.