‘Chakra’: Vishal’s brooding presence in a fun film about cyber theft

I returned to the big-screen experience with Chakra a solid entertainer helmed by one of Tamil cinema’s most promising contemporary actors Vishal

Photo Courtesy: YouTube
Photo Courtesy: YouTube

Subhash K Jha

In these trying times when civilization struggles to get back on its feet, some fun at the movies is what we need to get back to the theatres. I returned to the big-screen experience with Chakra a solid entertainer helmed by one of Tamil cinema’s most promising contemporary actors Vishal. Although Vishal’s fan base is growing by leaps and bounds, he doesn’t shove himself into every frame. He knows about the team spirit.

‘Chakra’ is not a narcissistic exercise to boost the lead star’s popularity. Its hyper-gamboling take on online scams and cyber theft is well written and the song breaks are avoided. Miraculously for an action film, it has plenty of space for its two leading ladies, Shradha Srisanth who was so disarmimgly charming in the recent Maara. Here she plays a cop assigned to investigate orchestrated multiple robberies across Chennai on Independence Day.

Vishal’s Chandru (named, we are told, after Subhas Chandra Bose) playing an army man, who looks like one, gives Shradha’s Gayathri a helping hand in cracking the case. They have a history, but refreshingly no songs, no running around the non-existent trees. Halfway through the film Chandru’s arch-adversary Leela (Regina Cassanda) shows up. Leela is an abused child who has grown up into a cyber thief.

The screenplay (written by the director Anandan) is original and unafraid to plough into a new territory in commercial cinema. The storytelling is devoid of self-importance. No one here is out to change the world, but hey, if it does happen, no harm in it.

For an action star, Vishal has kept the stunts to a bare(and raw) minimum. There is the mandatory introductory fight (how can any South Indian superstar make his entry without one of those?) and the climactic conflagration which is extremely well staged, cutting the footage nimbly between the fight on a dark street and the heroine in hospital who’s about to be attacked by the arch-villain Leela.

There are passages in the fast-paced narrative that could have been better executed. But the spirit of perfidious fun is never lost even in the most outrageous interludes. Vishal allots himself ample time in the narrative but not at the cost of the other characters. His monologue on the invasion of privacy by online entrepreneurship is timely when the consumer buys everything from mouthwash to movies online.

And it’s good to see veteran Tamil actors like K R Vijaya and Manobala in the cast. The editing (Thiyagu), so crucial to a crime caper is largely precise. No sequence is allowed to overstay its welcome. And we are in and out of this perky adventure actioner in no time at all.

Yup. I had a good time at the movie theatre. ‘Chakra’ is fun to watch.

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