Vaalee to Leo: Tamil Films With Fake Flashbacks/ False Perspectives

PUBLISHED DATE : 01/Nov/2023

Vaalee to Leo: Tamil Films With Fake Flashbacks/ False Perspectives

Director SJ Suryah may have kicked off the whole 'fake flashback' trend in Tamil Cinema with the Ajith starrer Vaalee (1999), but it is Lokesh Kanagaraj directed Leo which has brought back the topic in trend. Leo starring Vijay in the lead released in theaters on October 19, 2023 and in the movie, the lead character is someone with a hidden identity.


Post the film's release, director Lokesh has said that the portions that are shown as the 'big reveal' behind Vijay's identity, are not entirely true and is only the perspective of the character (Mansoor Ali Khan) making the reveal. Lokesh also said that there was a dialogue which was cut from the movie to keep the audience guessing, and this dialogue was even unveiled recently. 



The trend of hoodwinking even the audience with an entirely made-up perspective has been seen before in a handful of Tamil movies, and they have been listed below.


1) Vaalee (1999)

SJ Suryah is a notable character actor in the Tamil film industry today, but he began his career as a writer, director with the Ajith starrer Vaalee 24 years ago. The runaway-hit featured Ajith in twin roles, and a minor portion of the film included one of the Ajith characters duping Simran with a fake love story.

However instead of just faking through dialogues, director SJ Suryah gave full blown visuals through a song dedicated to this made-up character Sona (Actress Jyotika's debut). Despite the audience knowing that the flashback has no merit, a filmmaker selling it with all his might, and the viewers entertaining it (albeit with a Tamil version of the 1984 number Suzanne/Susanna by Dutch band VOF de Kunst), was unique for Tamil cinema at that time. 


2. Manmadhan (2004)

Co-written and starring Silambarasan TR in the lead, Manmadhan was another Jyotika starrer with twins and a fake flashback. Silambarasan when caught for a series of murders reveals to everyone that it is his twin brother who is responsible for the same.

The story is however only partially true and it turns out that the twin Simbu commits suicide after being cheated in a relationship, and accidentally killing his girlfriend and her lover. The flashback is revealed to be false only to the audience, while the characters in the movie still believe that the twin-Simbu is out there on a killing spree, while the present Simbu 'avenges' his brother's death. 


3. Pizza (2012)

4. Isai (2015)

5. Enakul Oruvan (2015)

A remake of the 2013 Kannada hit Lucia, Enakul Oruvan through parallel flashbacks keeps the audience guessing which is real and which is fake. Lucid dreaming is the theme of this movie, and a colour-blind film star in an attempt to escape insomnia, and lead a life away from the limelight goes through a series of imaginative realities. 

The Tamil version starring Siddharth in the lead received critical acclaim for his portrayal of film actor Vignesh and his illusion Vicky.  


6. Leo (2023)

Based on the History of Violence (graphic novel/Hollywood movie), the whole of Leo moves around Vijay's dual identities of an everyday café owner named Parthiban, who once lived as a deadly gangster named Leo Das. Or so those who watched Leo thought. 

In probably a first for Tamil Cinema, the makers of Leo have said that the past that was shown to be Parthiban's past as Leo Das, with a twin sister named Elisa Das (Madonna Sebastin) and who was believed to be shot by his own father (Sanjay Dutt) twice, may not be entirely true. They have also said that the lack of bullet wounds on Parthiban was a hint about this this fake narrative, and that this false perspective will be cleared only if there is ever a sequel i.e. Leo 2

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