Kolaigaran Review: Kolaigaran opens with a murder. A woman has her throat slit by an unknown person and in the next scene, we see a man confessing to the crime. We later learn that this man is Prabhakaran (Vijay Antony, whose impassive face is perfectly suited to this role). The action shifts to a few days earlier. Karthikeyan (Arjun), a police officer, is called in to investigate the murder of an unidentified male. He soon finds out that the victim is Vamsi, the relative of a minister in Andhra Pradesh. And that he had been stalking Dharini (Ashima Narwal) and her mom. Karthikeyan suspects the mother and daughter, but Prabhakaran, who happens to be their neighbour, claims it is who has murdered Vamsi.
Director Andrew Louis has admitted that Kolaigaran is a loose adaptation of the Japanese crime novel The Devotion Of Suspect X. As in the novel, the central idea is about the successful cover-up of a murder by a clever man. This was also the theme in Jeetu Joseph’s Papanasam (and the Malayalam original Drishyam). Louis manages to come up with a solid thriller taking this idea, and turning the film into a battle of wits between a dogged cop and an intelligent man who might be more than what he appears to be. While Papanasam was also a family drama and was driven by emotions, here, Louis dives straight away into the investigation. Which is why the couple of songs that we get are massive mood-killers (though, they are hummable). And unlike Papanasam, where we knew who had committed the crime, this film is also a whodunit.
The initial portions set up the mystery quite nicely and makes us unsure of the motivations of the main characters. We are mostly in Karthikeyan’s shoes and remain puzzled by their actions. And Simon King employs his theme to great effect to maintain the eeriness. In the second half, Louis gives us two scenarios of how the murder could have happened and keeps us guessing on which one of these could be the real one. And when we get the answer, it feels fairly convincing and this is why the film succeeds.