It takes courage, tremendous belief and conviction to stick to your guns when things go against you. Pachaikili Muthucharam has not been a smooth ride for everyone involved, but Gautham Menon; captain of the ship was unwavering in his confidence and now it is time for all the skeptics to go into hiding or take a U-turn and hail this effort.

If Kakka Kakka was an ‘Episode in the life of a police officer’ then this must be ‘an Episode in the life of a common man’. It’s the story of a man who lives for and loves his family, commits a mistake, repents, regrets, suffers and then redeems himself. It’s a celluloid drama about how a few moments can change one’s life. It is not a love triangle, nor a family drama about the ‘other woman’. It is, in every sense of the phrase, ‘a never before seen’ attempt in Tamil cinema. It takes guts to do such movies and hats off to the entire team of Pachaikili Muthucharam.

The movie opens with Sarath Kumar being shown as the perfect picture of the ‘common man’; simple, content, complacent and secure. He has a ‘happy family back home’ (wife and son), a hassle free job (medical representative).  

It is a smooth existence and he demands nothing more from life. The twist enters in the form of Jyothika in a suburban train; its imminent attraction and what started as a rapport first threatens to ‘Derail’ the hero’s life. Though the movie has been inspired by the English version, Derailed, the nativity factor has been seamlessly stitched in, thanks to Gautham’s narration and Aravind Krishna’s camera.

Conviction is the one word that comes to mind when one thinks of the movie. First, the conviction shown by the director to adapt a story of a genre that is seldom tried in Tamil cinema. Conviction on the part of Jyothika to take up a role that breaks all rules about what a heroine must do. If you are a Jyothika fan, then this is a must watch; she has never done such a role before. Then there is Sarath Kumar who must be lauded for choosing to play a man who is blackmailed and beaten up by a couple of thugs in some scenes. Also, it takes confidence to appear in front of camera without make up.

Who says commercial cinema cannot be realistic? In fact things cannot get more real. A man who falls for the charms of a woman who is a complete stranger to him; the man who sobs while confessing his folly to his wife; the man who begins to crumble under the pressure of the threats of a few gangsters. All these are things that we do not normally associate with hero’s in Tamil cinema. Only in the climax does the hero hit back and redeem himself. But then that can be forgiven; that is the only way to end the movie on a happy note.

Sarath Kumar is convincing; Andrea is apt; Milind Soman is menacing but the real scene stealer is Jyothika who puts her big expressive eyes to best possible use. The scenes on train in which she attracts Sarath Kumar stand out. She has even made subtle changes to her body language to accommodate the hint of deviousness that her character has. The cast could not have done a better job and credit to Gautham Menon for choosing the right persons for the roles. However, one has to say that the long hair of the villain is getting repetitive.

The script is the single biggest strength of the movie. The narration never sways from the main plot, no unnecessary frills. Camera work is excellent and so is the editing. Both factors add value to the movie. The music is another high point. The Harris Jeyaraj-Gautham team does it for the fourth time in a row. Mesmerizing scores, a peppy number, you have it all, not to forget the background score. This adds greatly to the viewing experience of an already well crafted movie. The melodious Unn Sirippinil and the lilting Unakkul Naan have been well shot.

It is difficult to sum up a movie that has so many positives. It is tough to weigh what to mention and what not to. It would be fair to say that if one can overlook few minor glitches, then this is one movie that deserves to be watched on the big screen. It is a two hour something movie that does not permit you to take your eyes off the screen; nor does it get off your mind for hours after.

Gautham shows that he is growing with each passing film. His style is distinctive, his vision clear, his team rallies around him and he manages to pull it off each time he attempts. Strictly speaking in trade terms, it is sure to please the A centre audiences. B and C centers, well Sarath Kumar’s presence should pull the crowds. They will see their star in a totally new avatar and how they react to it is something that needs to be watched. But, if one has to sum up, then the movie has everything in it to become a HIT. Gautham lands four in a row. One only hopes that this is not the best he can offer, we want to see even more from him. Keep going Gautham.

For the common man: If it has been quite a while since you had a good time, then do yourself a favor. Get yourself a ticket and watch Pachaikili Muthucharam on the Big Screen. Let’s whole heartedly encourage such movies so that better ones are made in the future.