A mechanical watch

A mechanical watch

Here even science can be illogical. The corollary is that sci-fi has no limitations. Also our cinema is all about heroics at the cost of not just...

Here even science can be illogical. The corollary is that sci-fi has no limitations. Also our cinema is all about heroics at the cost of not just credibility and storytelling but every other aspect of cinema. The strength and bane of our cinema is the star. Everything revolves around this fulcrum. So does ‘24’. It is Suriya-centric. It is riveted in and around the characters he plays. The hype already shows results at a multiplex where multiple screens have the same film screened to packed houses.

Writer-director Vikram Kumar takes on a time wrap and his sci-fi is more about the divide between good and evil and the success of the former. It pushes the Rakesh Roshan genre a level higher and borrows heavily from the formula setup by RR. An overdramatic and prolonged prologue before the credit rolls tell us of two lookalike brothers (twins) separated in birth by 180 seconds and thus the 180 degree stance! Bros Shiv Kumar – good (Suriya) and Athreya – bad (Suriya) are engaged in taking control of time and the time machine.

Strangely even the maker of an ambitious science fiction film does not know to draw the line between physics and chemistry for detail and authenticity. So in this one man laboratory at Hosley Hills the scientist Siva is in the midst of a breakthrough in his research to control time with a gadget. Bad bro Athreya is out to snatch the powerful tool with aide Mitra (Ajay). An over the hill fight and chase leads to dramatic blood splash and loud over dramatic typical Southie start.

The brothers make a temporary exit – one for good and the other in coma. Fast forward 26 years we have Mani (Suriya in Form III) running a watch repair shop with foster mother Satyabhama (Saranya Ponvannan). The watch dad made and saved from evil brother is now with him and he accidentally gets to it and deciphers its working. Genetic coding of parental chromosomes leaves him with the acquired skills of dead dad.

He plays with the new found toy, falls in love with Satya (Samantha), uses it for little things that include winning a T-20 against Sri Lanka which we really lost etc. Bad bro Athreya is now bad uncle Athreya who is out of coma once the watch begins to tick. He catches up with his nephew and chops of his forearm to gain the wrist watch. At this stage they are literally hammering one another.

Post break, we have Athreya realising that he needs Mani to fine tune the gadget. He plays his various ingenuous tricks on the family members. In a parallel that needs to connect all loose ends, we have foster mother Satyabhama as none else but the daughter of grand patriarch (Girish Karnad) whose granddaughter is Satya. How they all catch up with one another, all together and make it to a finale is about the never ending script stretched over two-and-a-half hours and more.

The film is built around Suriya and the entire script is dedicated to him. It believes that if he can carry it, nothing else matters. Once you subscribe to that idea and only if you do, then ‘24’ is all fine. Mani keeps repeating in the film that he is a watch mechanic. The audience is expected to lap this up by virtue of the sales person and not the product. It ends up being a mechanic watch of a watch mechanic.

Film Name : 24
Cast : Suriya, Samantha, Saranya and Girish Karnad
Direction : Vikram K Kumar
Genre : Sci-fi
Likes : Overdramatic and long
Dislikes : Suriya

By L Ravichander

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