The film is on par with the original Neeraj Pandey?s A Wednesday, with minor modifications to make it politically correct by including a Hindu mercenary, a gun runner for whom it is just about money.
The dialogues written by Era Murugan are electrifying and justifies the milieu change from the terror-prone Mumbai to much calmer climes of Chennai.
Kamal Hassan and his team have also pointed to the Coimbatore bomb blast and Meenambakkam airport blast to give the film a local flavour. And to add his own secularist view point, one of the Muslim characters justifies his action and says it is all because of Modi and communal politics which led to the Best Bakery case. The film is well intended and is told in an emphatic manner very bravely.
One ordinary day, the Chennai city police commissioner Raghava Maraar (Mohanlal) receives a threatening call on his mobile from a guy (Kamal Hassan), who claims that he has placed five bombs in various parts of the city. The veracity of the caller's claim is confirmed when the cops find a bag with a RDX bomb at the Anna Salai police station.
The anonymous caller wants five hard core terrorists to be freed -- If not, he threatens blasts at various locations in Chennai where he has concealed the bombs. The chief secretary (Lakshmi) on the orders of Chief Minister has given a Maraar a free hand.
Maraar and his crack team of officers, led by a daring brooding cop Arif Khan (Ganesh Venkatram), gets ready to hand over the terrorists to the anonymous caller at an airfield. The story cannot be told further as it would be a giveaway of the stunning and well written climax, which had the entire audiences in the theatre giving a standing ovation at the end. It is a very brave and pathbreaking film, with a running time of only 110 minutes.
The film works because of its ensemble cast and the outstanding performances of Mohanlal and Kamal Hassan. Unlike in the Hindi version where Naseeruddin Shah had an edge over Anupam Kher, here the best dialogues in the film and almost equal screen time is given to Mohanlal.
Kamal's emotional outburst at the end, is heart rending and perhaps one of the finest piece of acting seen in Tamil cinema. Kamal and Mohanlal coming together is worth your ticket money. Ganesh Venkatram has a tailor-made role, and this film is going to be his big ticket to stardom.
Technically the film is picture perfect, with great background score by Sruthi Hassan, that builds the mood.
Chakri Toleti as a director cannot make a better debut as director in a film that will bring about a change in Tamil commercial cinema. Go for it and encourage good meaningful cinema.