Sans the logic, Santhanam’s A1 is an enjoyable comic ride with the quirky dialogues serving as the icing on an otherwise usual cake!
What happens when a typical north madras based young guy falls in love with an orthodox Brahmin girl? This is the simple one line offered by A1 (Accused no.1), directed by Johnson K. With Santhanam playing the hero named Saravanan and his team of comedy actors given lots of scope to score in this 1 hour 50 minute flick, does A1 entertain its audiences? Read further to find out.
A1 starts off with a very serious scene that introduces us to a very important character who is none other than the heroine Tara Alisha’s father in the film. He is a just man who is known to be righteous by all means. Cut to the heroine and hero’s intro and from there on, it is humour all the way that takes the front seat. We call this comedy because there is some genuine laughter on offer for all audiences in many scenes in the first half and few scenes in the second half. But the serious track that plays for a brief period talks about a murder and its mystery and has been blended into this comic caper.
Santhanam as Saravanan/Saro is his typical self and he scores in numerous instances. Be it the scenes with his father played by MS Bhaskar or with his usual team of Lollu Sabha Manohar and Swaminathan, it is safe to say that Santhanam is back with a bang. He entertains one and all and he is joined by some other actors such as Thangadurai, Tony from Coco and few others who play his friends. Saro meets Tara (Divya), they fall in love conveniently or coincidentally and she breaks up with him. Now if you go and search for logic in any of the sequences that have been written out to entertain you, you might be fooled. But if you chose to forget that, there are a number of funny moments to enjoy and some good performances from the comedy club.
As the film progresses into its serious track towards the interval block, one might think the director and team has taken its audiences for granted and placed a lot of scenes according to their convenience. In fact, this serious track drops flat and humour takes over again to entertain. So it is easy to say the director Johnson did not intend to cater to the artistic audiences and has set out to engage general masses in his own fashion. Even though the plot is that of a commercial pot-boiler with a shallow crime angle, what might keep the show going is the strength in the rhyme scheme of dialogues and some well written, fairly new comedy scenes.
Technically, A1 is not bombastic in nature and quite obviously so. There is barely any night scenes and there are no scenes with scope for experimentation with respect to cinematography. Santhosh Narayanan’s music adds value here and there and the background score is decent for this sort of a film. Editing by Leo John Paul seems crisp and the run-time of 110 minutes is a big positive as there seems to be not many draggy sequences or time wasted on what might not be required for the script.
The latter half has few dull moments in the form of massive logic loopholes or the fact that the characters who set out to commit a murder are very stupid to leave behind obvious forms of evidence. Also, there is a casual dig at a certain section of the audience throughout the film, that might seem funny for the majority crowd but might hurt the sentiments/beliefs of a few. This though is nothing new to Tamil cinema and its formula and can come across as harmless too due to the numerous body shaming jokes that our audiences are so used to. The entry of Motta Rajendran and team is good fun in the latter half and his team of comedians have done a nice job as well. With multiple characters linked into this simple comedy film, it can be stated that the team has done a good job of registering every important character and bringing them back when needed to untie the knots.
Overall, Santhanam’s A1 is a very watchable commercial, comedy-driven entertainer that would engage the masses. Even though the logic goes for a toss, this film has some good and funny moments alongside decent performances and quirky, well written dialogues. If only for some better staging of the serious track, this could have well been an enjoyable film. Nevertheless, the last 15 minutes offer rip roaring laughter just as some of the scenes in the entire film do. Go for it with no expectations and you might well be entertained!
Bottomline: A1 is a simple, fun film if you can forget the seriousness or stay away from testing the logic! Santhanam and co have provided a fairly engaging experience!