There are some elements Tamil cinema simply cannot let go of. Love stories, films on politics, nationalism, family sentiments and action dramas have been ruling the industry for a while now. And, let’s not forget the films with serial killers that kept us glued to our seats, wondering about the motive and the murderer.
The love for serial killers is not recent. From Sigappu Rojakkal and Vettaiyaadu Vilayaadu to the upcoming Imaikkaa Nodigal, Tamil cinema’s tryst with serial killers has thrived with age.
R. Ajay Gnanamuthu’s Imaikkaa Nodigal, starring Nayanthara, Atharvaa Murali and Anurag Kashyap in the lead, is said to be based on a serial killer. Anurag plays a psychopath in the film. Will Imaikkaa Nodigal also live up to the tradition of blood-thirsty men on the hunt for innocent victims, mostly women? The film sees Nayanthara play a CBI officer, while Atharvaa essays the role of her brother. The film is slated to release in August this year.
The year 2017 saw a string of films based on serial killers. Arun Vaidyanathan’s Nibunan, staring Arjun, Prasanna and Varalaxmi, had an engaging plot, but the serial killer reveal was a serious letdown. Super rich, busy parents neglect their daughter, and catch her in an illicit affair with the domestic help. A murder and an accidental death later, the parents commit suicide and it is presumed that a nephew murders a spate of people involved with the case. Arjun, Prasanna and Varalaxmi investigate the murders and try to connect the dots. Amid the racing adrenalin, the reveal of the killer is a damp squib.
CV Kumar’s directorial debut Maayavan and AR Murugadoss’s Spyder dealt with similar themes. Murugadoss’s film is unbashed in telling a tale of pure evil versus good. Mahesh Babu’s job allows him to hear other’s conversations. Thanks to this, he tracks people in trouble and prevents crimes. However, SJ Suryah goes on a killing spree with no apparent motive. He merely feeds off grief. And, when there’s not enough, he creates grief.
Gautham Vasudev Menon’s Nadunisi Naaygal and Vettaiyadu Vilayadu also had women as victims. Nadunisi Naaygal was touted as the next big thing after Bharathiraaja’s Sigappu Rojakkal. Actor Veera a.k.a Samar is sexually abused by his father, after his mother’s death. Meenakshi (Swapna Abraham), a neighbour, rescues Samar; he ends up raping and murdering her. Other women fall prey till be meets Sukanya (Sameera Reddy).
Vettaiyaadu Vilayaadu sees Raghavan (Kamal Haasan) play a cop in search of two psychopaths Amudhan (Daniel Balaji) and Salim Baig (Ilamaran), who rape and kill girls. The killers are hi-tech, and make ample use of cellphones, hacking and surveillance equipment to stay one-up on the cops.
In P Bharathiraja’s Sigappu Rojakkal¸Dileep (Kamal Haasan) has a deep aversion for women from his childhood. He lures women and slays them, while his father watches the activities recorded in the bedroom. Dileep falls in love with Sarada (Sridevi), and marries her; when she discovers his deep, dark secrets, and the reason for the patch of red roses in the garden, she flees for life. Dileep is imprisoned, and becomes deranged; he scribbles Sarada’s name on the prison walls.
While all these films saw the hero playing the investigator or the murderer, the twist in Imaikkaa Nodigal will be that the investigating officer is Nayanthara. In an industry where very few women have played cop, if you exclude the massy films of Vijayashanti that were a rage in the 90s, it is to be seen how people receive Nayanthara’s role as CBI officer.