Dhuruvangal 16 - A wake-up call
Visitor Sai Shyam G along with MovieCrow team
As you walk out of Dhruvangal 16, it is perplexing to comprehend how Karthick Naren could have come up with a masterpiece at a young age of 21 (during the time of making). Firstly, to conceive such a complex screenplay without making it feel complicated requires clarity of vision. The director's ability to arrest the attention of the audience for the entire duration requires tremendous control over the medium. How could a debutant director get such tremendous conviction, unflinching confidence and maturity in treatment way beyond his biological age?
Firstly, there is so much depth in each of the 16 characters (film aptly titled Dhuruvangal 16) in the film. Be it the protagonist (Rahman) who is a perfectionist, or the constable Rajan who keeps giving excuses, the characters are diverse yet consistent within their scope throughout the film. There is a sense of calmness and presence of mind in the proceedings even at crucial junctures, even though the constable (Gautham) acts at the spur of the moment and gets excited too quickly. The director has broken a number of clichés. He shows that cops do not have to keep their faces stern and always shout at the top of their lungs to show urgency and mean business. It is relishing to see the telephonic conversations involving Rahman, especially the one in which he explains a newly-joined constable how the messages from the control room needn't sound tense irrespective of their authenticity and seriousness. The conversation with the rookie constable and Rahman's reaction when he hangs up the phone before taking down the address instantly put up a smile on the faces of the audience. Also, when Rahman finds out a major breakthrough in the case and calls the constable, he enjoys the caller tune and even smiles momentarily. All these details never actually influence the storyline much, but provides a peek into the mind of the protagonist while also providing a subtle comic relief.
Karthick Naren's narrative brilliance instantly cast a spell on the viewers. He continuously teases the audience by showcasing what could have probably happened from different angles, and after convincingly making us believe that a particular sequence would have happened, he happily moves on to revealing the next possible sequence, which is even more striking and least expected. Playing such brain games with the audience needs a superlative script and an innately confident brain.
Technically, the style of the movie is widely appreciated for being Hollywood-like. Doubt if the filmmaker will necessarily be taking that as a compliment. The movie is genuinely original in its treatment with the maker's unique signature throughout the proceeding. One may have noticed the immaculately choreographed acting sequences with camera fluidly moving around the characters. Typically, film-makers opt to go for fast-paced ramp cuts to keep it tight. However, Karthik Naren confidently lets the shot roll without calling for a cut as witnessed in many crucial procedural scenes. Karthik Naren is able to extract the best out of every technical department, be it cinematography, editing or music. Everything so perfectly blends in complementing each other instead of competing against each other.
The movie received a standing ovation, which could very well be a first in that movie hall. Henceforth, filmmakers dare not define what the audience want in order to make up for their incompetence. Good films will ultimately find their audience and the audience will go to any length to watch good films. Even as I write this article, I could see many multiplexes in Chennai moving the film to their bigger screens and also the shows are being increased drastically for the upcoming weekend. Sheer power of good cinema!
Dhuruvangal 16 is a wake-up call for the dreamers who want to get into filmmaking. With this film, Karthick Naren has vehemently proved one point clearly. If you want to make a film, just go out under the sun and make it without compromising your vision and without underestimating the intelligence of the audience.
Let the fire in Karthick Naren continue to shine brighter in years to come. We are waiting!