“Climax munnadiye therinjitta, padam avlo interesting ah irukkathu la”
“Athu namma katha solra vithathula irukku”
The debutant director Karthick Naren perfectly sums up the movie by making the characters who narrate the film speak out these lines. We are shown the incident based on which the whole story is going to revolve around at the very beginning and the details of those are revealed slowly. But are those details real? Is that how the incident actually happened? Are we being deceived or is the narrator deceived himself? All these questions are answered in the brilliantly structured and shot Dhuruvangal Pathinaaru, which makes it a clear contender for being the one of the best Tamil films to have come out recently.
For most of the film, we see the camera following a person in long takes with the story going forward while some minor irrelevant but necessarily to stay close to reality things happening on screen. We are told that the story is being narrated by the police officer who handled the case involving the incident, to someone who is interested in the case but doesn’t know the full details, just like us. The director makes us interested in the case with the very first scene and raises our curiosity to find out what exactly happened. But the only difference is that, that person knows how it ends since this happened long back and we don’t. But the director makes sure we get enough details to make us predict what might happen in the end and proves us wrong every time he reveals something new. Staying true to its tagline, every detail did count in the film.
The music gives the perfect eerie and suspenseful tone to the film that keeps us on the edge of our seats till the end. We keep fighting with our own intelligence throughout the film. But the twists doesn’t make us question our minds but appreciate the director’s. Mainly because the clues were hiding in plain sight but we just hadn’t noticed it. It is not a killer who came out of nowhere or the villain narrating his whole plan to someone, but a license being shown in an earlier scene or a human mistake of someone forgetting a name. All the characters were smart enough to predict some of the moves of the ones they are chasing or running away from but also lack the intelligence to look for the smaller details that we usually miss. The characters stay as close to reality and also as cinematic as possible.
For a film that claims to have been completed in just 28 days, this has extremely well-constructed long takes and excellently structured screenplay. These were not gimmicky takes, but were actually relevant to the movie. The camera was hand held for most of the film but the framing and shakes were always in sync with the tone of the scene. Imagine the amount of effort that has been put in making the film for someone who has little to no knowledge in cinematography to notice all these stuff. It was quite prevalent that everyone who worked in the film know what they are doing and respect the art, which makes Dhuruvangal Pathinaaru such a masterpiece.
It is not easy for a debutant to leave such a mark in the industry which solely survives based on luck and popularity. There have been a lot of sleeper hits recently but the moviemakers who are not ready to experiment still keep blaming the audience for not being open enough. One can only hope Duruvangal pathinaaru would bring out more producers to invest in interesting stories and more directors to experiment without fear.