Before a couple of years, when Malayalam film Traffic was released in Chennai and other parts of Tamil Nadu, it remained unnoticed and didn't grab our attention. Thanks to Radhika Sarathkumar for her collaboration with the Listin Stephen - the producer of original version (She has bagged the Tamil remake rights of other two super hit movies produced under his banner that includes National award winning 'Ustad Hotel').
Let's get this fact straight. The film is loosely based on the real life incident in Chennai that astonished the entire continent in a big surprise on heart transplantation. Writers of original version Bobby and Sanjay were inspired by Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu's '21 Grams' for the plot that was very well directed by filmmaker Rajesh Pillai. His assistant Shaheed Kader doesn't miss to recreate the magic and does complete justice to the original version.
A reigning superstar (Praskash Raj), a proficient doctor Robin (Prasanna) and his chiseling wife (Iniya), well-esteemed police commissioner (Sarath Kumar), an aspiring journalist, desolated parents (Jayaprakash and Lakshmi Ramakrishnan) and his girlfriend (Parvathi Menon) unaware about his culmination , a traffic constable (Cheran) back from his suspension period for bribary case. It would have been yet another usual day, if a critical situation hadn't occured changing their lives forever.
It is a normal day in superstar's life and an aspiring journalist is gonna interview him. On the same day, traffic constable is joining back his duty and Dr Robin celebrates his wedding anniversary. When the journalist is hit by the car of Superstar at a Traffic signal, his brain becomes dead and is kept in ventilator though there are no chances for regaining his life. On the other end, superstar's daughter becomes too sick and the doctors insist for a heart transplantation, which otherwise would end her life. While the parents of the journalist are initially ignorant, they agree to put their son into peaceful sleep, thereby helping the little girl with his heart transplanted.
However, due to adverse climatic conditions, there is no availability of helicopters. It is when the commissioner is suggested by a chief doctor played by Vijayakumar (inspired by the real life character of doctor Cherian) to complete the mission through ROAD, which is quite impossible.
On the spur of moment, the mission begins and constable with the attempt of erasing his dark records of the past decides to accomplish with an unimaginable mission of covering 170Kms in just 90 mins (Vellore-to-Chennai).
There is something we assure you. It's not just the characters sticking to seat belts, but you do feel like wearing it at your theatre seats. Such is the momentum of film as you remain edge-on-seat, especially during the second hour.
It's a brilliant casting as the ensemble actors picked our attention right with the posters. Naturally, with everyone in the film including Poo fame Parvathi boasting of a good record movies in their career, this one stands out as a collage of best performances on whole. To be precise, almost all the actors do get not more than 20 minutes together on the screens, but their powerful characterization makes it completely engrossing. Prakash Raj appears to be little hyperactive while Radhika seems to be carrying the shades of her small screen impact. There is no need for such over reactions and they could have emoted naturally. It's Jayaprakash and Lakshmi stealing the show as pathetic parents unwillingly sacrifice their son. Prasanna is perfect and Cheran is the stealer of show as he wins more applause in theatres for his driving gimmicks, which indeed is a special surprise. Parvathi Menon doesn't get a meaty role, but she makes sure her portions are worth watching. Iniya's role is too little and there is nothing much to say on her.
The engaging screenplay by writers and editing by Mahesh Narayanan is the biggest plus that makes a major contribution to the film's momentum.
It's a meaningful cameo by Suriya during the critical point of film. Filmmaker Shaheed goes for an effective modification as the original version 'Traffic' didn't have a special appearance by any other actors and Rahman himself does it (he plays the role of Prakash Raj in Traffic).
Chennaiyil Oru Naal carries a bag of messages on the effects of traffic negligence and the importance of organ transplantation.
Verdict: A Must-watch for everyone... Don't miss it
Review by Richard Mahesh
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