Classic plots never fail unless they are overdone. They are classic because they have been told time and again and yet you want to watch them to know how characters respond to situations this time. Is the plot that’s supposed to be kept intact stays so? Are new situations built with rousing conflicts? Do characters behave credibly? And above all, what comes out of it in the end?
One such classic plot is “Stolen Identity”. It’s a trick used masterfully over the years by directors whenever they want to make a solid thriller that shoulders a mild psychological tension in the mind of the impostor. Cronenberg’s Dead Ringers, Spielberg’s Catch Me if You Can immediately come to the fore with such undertones. We all have identities yet we are unaware of what exactly it is until it gets stolen and the thief assumes it. Naan safely takes this plot but rides on an unassuming screenplay creating a sweepingly thrilling experience of watching it.
Karthik, out of the juvenile jail, assumes a co-traveler’s identity after an accident and becomes a medical student in the city. He befriends Ashok, a rich one from his class, and stays in his house. Things spiral out against him when he meets real conflicts. The most refreshing aspect of this movie is that the impostor never really has malicious intent to commit big frauds or wreak havoc. He steals the identity of a dead man and keeps a quiet life. Situations demand him to do whatever he does. And that’s why this movie wins. At no point can you see it trying to be stylistic or contrived or exasperating. There are no complex laid out plans. There are no revenge statements. There are no cries of horror. The scenes are hotblooded and how an accidental killer would respond to them.
Vijay Anthony, a composer turned actor, has reigned supreme in his acting as an understated impostor who talks less and does more with less charm and more mystery. His body language fits the character to a T. And most importantly, he knows how to show fear in his eyes. Director, Jeeva Shankar, has retold the classic tale of identity theft with intriguing situations and simplistic dialogues.
Naan never relies on bizarre twists and incredible turns but the moods and instincts of the lead character. It thrills with strength.