The film is showcased by the director to highlight the performance of Jeeva. Armed with a well written role of Prabhakar, a brilliant post-graduate in Tamil, the actor brings a primal mixture of beauty, love, affection, and savagery to his one-man act. The scene where he confronts a call centre employee, in the middle of the night on a deserted street and pours his scorn and frustration at the system is brilliant.
Prabhakar (Jeeva) is a Tamil teacher in a private school in west Mambalam area of Chennai, who leads a lonely life in a lodge. He is frustrated and even tries to commit suicide, in a system where knowing your mother tongue and teaching it is looked down upon by a society craving for material benefits and imbalance in pay structure. 10 years back, there were people who were getting Rs 2000 and Rs 20000, but today all that have changed as there are individuals working for IT companies drawing Rs 2 lakhs as salary, while the guy who gets Rs 2000 is still there trying to eke out a living!
Prabhakar, for no fault of his is at the receiving end, terrorised by cops and on the run after killing a railway booking clerk in a fit of rage. He roams all around the country and joins some saadhus, high on pot and also grows his hair long and keeps a shaggy beard. Finally he wants to exorcise the devils within and at gun point kidnaps a television anchor (Karnas), who records his life story, where he confesses to killing 22 people in cold blood! In the flashback he reveals his past, his upbringing by a Tamil teacher (director Azhagarperumal in a great cameo), and his childhood sweet heart, (Anjali) who later in his life becomes an obsession for him.
The entire film is told in the way of a first person narrative, which at times slows down the tempo, and there is a bit of blood and gore which could have been trimmed. There are times especially towards the climax, where the film veers perilously close to being a stock revenge saga (Prabhakar killing the cop who badly beat him up) Yuvan’s melancholic numbers are first rate with his dad Ilayaraaja song Paarvayin Yen Ingu Irukurai… being the pick of the lot. Yuvan has also created the right mood in the background score which enhances the movie. Kadhir’s gritty camera which travels all over the country, is another plus point.
Ram Subbu’s script and characterization of Prabhakar, pours plenty of heartfelt emotion into the film’s more dramatic moments. The film is high-brow, but if you are looking for a fresh off-kilter cinematic experience, then you don’t want to miss Katrathu Tamil.