Champion - Suseenthiran returns to pretty good form!
You can sense when somebody is not at their best. Some of Suseenthiran's recent works ( I did not see Kennedy Club) gave you that feel. It is not about these movies not working at the box office but you could clearly see that these weren't movies made by someone who had made Vennila Kabadi Kuzhu, Naan Mahaan Alla, Aadhalal Kaadhal Seiveer and Pandiya Naadu. You feared if he had lost it in him or was it a temporary dip. With Champion he certainly proves it wasn't the former case.
Like most sports films, Champion is about an underdog. But Champion isn't as much a sports film as it is a revenge thriller. A teenager from North Madras who is extremely good at football finds it difficult to move up the ranks because of his social class. When everything fits into place and the future seems brighter, a revelation from the past begins pulling him into the murky world of gangsters.
Right from the start, Champion keeps you invested and has you genuinely interested. There is a good vibe in the sense that you can feel Suseenthiran is in complete control over the proceedings. The performances are good. Debutant Vishwa is apt. Narain is superb and Manoj is a surprise. You know villainy works when there is a feel of discomfort. There is this constant feel of uneasiness when Stun Siva is around. The writing is clean. The one liner is nothing new and quite predictable but Suseenthiran keeps things interesting. Though there is no real surprise, he keeps unraveling some unknowns at appropriate intervals. There is this genuine tension in the second half because we have started caring for the characters. Take for instance the stretch towards the end involving a character named Rajiv Gandhi. You know where it is headed to but the emotions work big time.
Technically the film is slick. The football scenes are minimal but they are nicely captured in their raw form without the feeling of being staged. The narration is ably guided by Arrol Corelli's score.
The major grudge for me was that the film through its dialogues kept talking about how youngsters from North Madras are being stereotyped as being violent. But most parts of the film also does the same.
Champion is a welcome return to form for Suseenthiran. It might not be his best but there is enough to prove that he is an able filmmaker.