Pachaikili Muthucharam is one of the best films that Kollywood has dished out in recent times. The plot of the film is entirely faithful to the original source material – "Derailed", a thriller novel written by James Siegel. What makes the film so interestingly relevant is the fact that such a tragedy could strike anyone in the pulsating day to day city life.
Venkatesh (Sarath Kumar) is a sales representative with a Pharmaceutical company and leads a happy contended life with his lovely wife Kalyani (Andrea) and their six year old son Nanda. He lives in Tambaram, a Chennai suburb and commutes to work by local train. Venky has no real ambitions in life, is happy with the 9 to 5 job and not really bothered about promotions as he does not want to relocate to another city.
But his happy mundane existence is shaken up when his son is diagnosed for juvenile diabetics. Kalyani finds it difficult to cope up with the set back in life though Venky gives her a lot of support and love. Life changes track for the couple as they even forget to celebrate their wedding anniversary and slowly the fizz goes out of their marriage.
Suddenly out of the blue he notices an attractive Geeta (Jyothika) in the train and slowly they strike a great rapport. She is intelligent and is able to understand Venky’s anguish and problems. The strangers come close and Venky’s life changes forever.
Pachaikili is intelligently crafted taut thriller that consolidates Menon’s reputation as the Tamil thriller king. The surprise twists that hits you like a sledgehammer is the major plus of the film. Few writers have such solid control over their screenplay as Gautham does. He knows exactly how to make an ordinary scene into something special with just that one line of dialogue, or that hint of background score.
The lead actors in the film deliver some of their finest performances ever. Sarath Kumar is really the heart and soul of this film, leaving his imprint on virtually every scene. He has never looked so good and has given a subtle performance something that the audiences are not used to.
However it's Jyothika who truly steals the show, in the film’s toughest role. She infuses believability into her character with that soft love-lorn look and menace with her expressive body and eye language. It's a performance that stays with you.
New girl Andrea as the next-door-housewife lends a kind of authenticity, and she backs it up with spontaneous passion when she is unwilling to compromise or forgive her husband for having a relationship with another woman. And there is Milind Soman who is the surprise packet of the film with his voice (Gautham has dubbed) and body language being so casual.
Gautham is ably supported by his technical team of cameraman Aravind Krishna who has used tight close-ups which adds to the moods, anxieties and sheer dread of the characters. Antony’s editing is fast paced especially in the first half. Stunt Siva’s action scenes are superbly choreographed.
Music and background score plays a key role in the film and Harris Jayaraj has emerged winner once again.The song “Un Sirippinil …" stays long after you leave the hall. On the downside the film could have been trimmed a bit towards the climax.
Pachaikili Muthucharam assures that Tamil cinema is changing. It is perfect night out at the movies.