Devarattam - Bloodbath that only leaves you numb!
A self proclaimed righteous hero keeps breaking bones. And when someone close is bumped off, the rage hits the rooftop. This is the graph of a Muthaiah film. Devarattam is no different. The major issue here is that you sort of become numb to the violence and stop reacting to what is happening towards the later part of the movie.
Mindless masala films are sometimes harmless but when you assume a high position and want to tell a message through your movie, it is imperative that you atleast do a little bit of self introspection. This is a film that says women are precious and holy and should be respected. (Well the irony of chaining a woman by glorifying her and putting her on a pedestal and having her body as a measure of everything related to her is another topic. It might be too much to expect gender equality from Devarattam). Let us concur with what the film has to say for a second. But the very same film has a scene where a prospective match for the hero is a plus sized woman on the darker side and this is supposed to be a joke. Another scene has the hero insulting a bad guy by referring to his mother as characterless. (The actual dialogue is 'Only sons of Kannagi should be here. Not the sons of Kantha'. To ensure that we don't miss out on who Kantha is, we are shown the scene from Rathakanneer to remind us that Kantha here means a prostitute). I hope better sense prevails when impressionable minds watch these films.
Leaving aside the problematic stand about women, Devarattam is mostly engaging in its first half and there is some tension much like Muthaiah's previous outings. The stunts are over the top but the intensity is palpable. There is no denying that you do get the momentary adrenaline rush but all this is superficial as the emotional connect that worked in the director's earlier films isn't quite up to the mark here. When you take sufficient time to establish the dynamics of a relationship and then put the people in danger it would work more often than not. But in Devarattam there is no real build up to the crescendo. The hero is involved in bloodshed and violence from the start and stunts keep popping up at frequent intervals. The entire second half keeps moving on expected lines and the minimal tension that was holding the film in the first half is completely absent here.
You wonder why the hero is shown as a lawyer (except for repeated dialogues about how the educated stay away from violence and remain a mute spectator at times of injustice). You do not have a single scene of him doing something with his profession. The lawyer angle does come into play in the plot but change the profession and nothing would change in the film. This is that type of a film where you have to buy in that the hero is of a certain kind just because he wears Che Guevara T-shirts during duets. Gautham Karthik is pretty decent. It is high time Soori reinvents himself as the jokes simply don't work. This is a slightly different outing for Nivas K. Prasanna and he delivers the goods.The slightly loud score is one of the things that keeps Devarattam afloat.
You expect Devarattam to be predictable and replete with cliches. But what hurts it is the absence of an emotional connect. The message of Devarattam is that women are precious and men should protect them. Wondering who will protect us from the regressive ideas that these films propagate.