Cast: Sarath Kumar, Suhasini, Munishkanth, Anjana Prem
When I heard that the 2013 hit film Chennaiyil Oru Naal was getting a sequel, I thought it was a joke. In not titling it Chennaiyil Rendaavadhu Naal, thought they missed a great opportunity. Having now seen the film, I can see why they didn’t. Coimbatore is the backdrop for this story. Talk about trying to piggyback on a good film.
The original was about a race-against-time story propped up by an ensemble cast. But the sequel, though about the happenings in a day again, has no real connection with the first, except that Sarath Kumar again plays a cop. In the first, he was the commissioner, but here, he reports a higher authority, a character played by Napolean, who, along with Suhasini appear in roles that are more than cameos. Other than Munishkanth, there’s no other familiar face in this film and this is a major setback for those who loved the first part for its ensemble cast.
Chennaiyil Oru Naal 2 is a crime thriller with enough sub-plots to make a few more films. It’s a case of too much in too little time. As if this weren’t enough, the climax reveals another sub-plot which is explained to be the reason for all the crimes. The film never seems in any real hurry too and feels as slow as its lead character when in the slo-mo running sequences. Sarath still looks fit though.
The story, an adaptation of a crime novel, could have been intriguing, had its essence not got lost in translation. Munishkanth, who comes throughout the film, meanwhile, sticks to the ‘evil mother-in-law’ track that is as old as the hills.
The background score by Jakes Bejoy of Dhuruvangal Pathinaaru fame is a positive. As is the title track. Also commendable is the avoidance of other songs in the film. The use of animation to explain some complications in the story is a nice, nifty touch.
But ultimately, Chennaiyil Oru Naal 2 isn’t an exciting crime thriller. With an end that teases the possibility of another film in the franchise, let’s hope they get everything right the next time. The title would be a good place to start with.
This review was written for The New Indian Express. Click here to read the newspaper version.