'Dhruvangal Pathinaaru', a smart thriller that borders on the overwrought

The plot has too many contrived twists but it's a film that keeps you invested.
'Dhruvangal Pathinaaru', a smart thriller that borders on the overwrought
'Dhruvangal Pathinaaru', a smart thriller that borders on the overwrought
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There are two kinds of people. The ones who understand the margherita pizza and the ones who don’t. The latter category doesn’t quite get why anyone should settle for the basic and simple flavours of the margherita when you can load your pizza with exotic vegetables and three kinds of meat. 

21-year old director Karthick Naren is not a margherita man but he does his best to give you a delicious meal with his debut film. “Dhruvangal Pathinaaru” is an episode from a police officer’s life. The film opens with a murder that takes place on a rainy night. 

The case which starts off looking like a suicide becomes increasingly complex as Deepak (Rahman), the investigating officer, plays with the different pieces of the jigsaw that are thrown at him to arrive at what really happened.

Rahman is present in almost every frame of the film. He’s convincing as the somewhat morose cop who doesn’t talk much or react much but knows how to get the job done. He grumbles about the inefficiency of his colleagues but doesn’t lose his temper. 

He’s there to cover the holes in the system, make up for the others who don’t do their bit. In other words, he’s the high-quality cheese that saves a pizza with a competent sauce and elements that don’t always come together.

The other characters, however, are underdeveloped. We meet them only as suspects, eyewitnesses or obvious red herrings since we see the story through Deepak’s eyes. But unfortunately, they don’t stick in your mind long enough for the narrative to step up the intrigue.

There are too many coincidences and contrived twists that knock down the carefully built authenticity of the investigation itself with its unreliable witnesses and differing hypotheses. The slick editing and smart screenplay, however, interest you enough to remain invested in the plot as it reaches its denouement.

A word about the closing lines – Deepak poses a “what if” scenario about the crime, which I suppose was meant to provide some insight on human nature. What if the people involved had behaved differently?

And disconcertingly, he begins by asking what if a female character who files a police complaint against a man who harassed her had handled the situation in a “better” manner, as if this was the incident that had decided the course of events. 

Why not begin by asking what if the men had desisted from harassing her?! Karthick Naren may not have meant to indulge in victim blaming here but it strikes a jarring note nevertheless.

I never order the pizza exotica, so it’s understandable why “Dhruvangal Pathinaaru” is not my kind of whodunit. But it’s definitely an impressive debut from a young filmmaker who knows his craft and here's hoping he discovers the joys of the margherita with his next. 

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