Set in the official and unofficial dump yards of North Chennai, Debutante director Rathan Linga’s ‘Attu’ is a fairly engaging flick about, rowdyism, friendship, love, trust and betrayal.
Attu (Rishi Rithvik) and his four friends are orphans who live in a dump yard since childhood. Since teenage they assist a local gang leader and eventually become paid thugs. Sundari (Archana Ravi), a teenager in Attu’s neighborhood falls for him since he saves her from a group of abusers at a very young age. Attu accepts Sudnari’s love after long hesitation, but the girl’s father is against this relationship.
Jeya (Dheena) a drug dealer often crosses swords with Attu and his friends. During a police raid on Jeya’s place, a few packs of drug powder accidentally land in Attu’s place and this deepens the enmity between Jeya and Attu. To retrieve his product, Jeya plans to kill Attu.
In the melee, Attu kills a local political bigwig for betraying him and lives in hiding along with his friends.
How they are bailed out of police action and what happens to their lives after that forms the rest of the screenplay.
‘Attu’ is probably the first ever Tamil film to document the lives of people living in the official and unofficial dump yards of North Chennai. The director claims that the film has been written based on a true incident.
Despite being a regular tale of destitute children turned gangsters, the film successfully sustains he audience interest for a predominant part with a fairly engaging screenplay and authentic portrayal of characters and set props. The writer-director’s research oriented approach is evident in the detailing and dialogues. The locations filled with garbage, overflowing blood, unkempt faces, unclean locations and dusty costumes may make you squirm, but the reality is that these people are destined to live in these conditions.
But the film does not have anything new as a story. Everything moves on predictable lines. Even the betrayal of close ones does not come as a shock as we see it coming anytime in the film. Longer screen time for the hero’s love track, comic interludes (Yogi Babu as one of Attu’s friends keeps us in splits throughout the first half) and songs (including a redundant item number in the second half) seem to have caused by the shallowness of the story to sustain the film’s running time. The over-stretched and not so convincing events happening in the climax, especially a contrived ending for the heroine character weakens the overall impact of the film and we leave the movie hall with half content.
Rishi Rithvik is quite apt for the character on all counts and special kudos for his performance in fight scenes and the noticeable swirling of the sword. But he needs to concentrate more on expressions and dialogue delivery to be identified as a good actor. Archana Ravi exactly resembles a lower middle class girl from a North Chennai locality and does not leave anything to complain about in terms of acting.
Yogi Babu as usual comes up with some hilarious one-liners to which the theater erupts in laughter. Prabha as Uluva, a close friend of Attu, gets to portray a character with multiple shades and he has done a neat job. Dheena comes up with yet another chilling portrayal as a local gangster.
Bobo Sasi's re-recording is apt while the songs pass muster. Cinematographer Ramalingam transports us to the landscape of the film with the selection of tone and angles. Art Director Suresh Galleri deserves credit for enhancing the authenticity of the location. The fight scenes, brilliantly choreographed by Power Pandian Asan are another big plus for the film as they look so real.
Verdict: A regular story about North Chennai gangsters narrated with a fairly engaging screenplay and impressive authenticity.