Chennai 600028

Picture this …. you are watching a movie from DVD on your color TV (1989 make) at home with your family and friends, with the digital sound trying to come out from the TV’s speakers. You are sitting on the floor, having sugary, watery lemonade to beat the summer heat and some half-roasted popcorn to get that feeling of watching a movie in a multiplex. Suddenly something comes and bites you and you realize you are the latest victim of the ant menace that has surfaced again this summer too.

Replace your TV screen and speakers with those of this multiplex, the lemonade with Mountain Dew, the floor with some seats made of hard rock, the ants with mootta poochis (don’t know what they are called in English but imagine any insect whose touch will leave you with a day full of itches), litter the floor with popcorns and what not, and you are not in your home but in a famed multiplex at the outskirts of Chennai. So much for home entertainment !!

Coming back to the topic at hand, “Chennai 600028” is a Tamil movie centered around the rivalry between two local gali cricket teams – (Visalakshi Thottam) Sharks and (Royapuram) Rockers. The rivalry is so intense that they are hell bent on beating each other both on and off the field. The movie starts Lagaan style with a big map of India (or was it a world map?) that is joomed in (Captain style) to show Tamil Nadu, its districts and finally Chennai. The movie is about the days leading to the gali cricket tournament which both teams want to win. The theme of gali cricket helps the director to make a connection with the audience (as many would have played cricket in the gali with a tennis ball) and also helps to keep the budget really low, especially with boys-next-door and the girls-next-door making up the star cast. The comedy element surfaces from time to time reminding viewers that they at least have something to fall back upon (especially with such hard seats in the movie hall). The movie must have been shot with the help of a Doordarshan camera man because the lighting is pathetic in many of the scenes and in one match sequence, the ball goes somewhere else while the focus is on the players who, if I remember correctly, are celebrating the fall of a wicket.

The actors, though appearing like amateurs, have portrayed their characters well. Their portrayal gives the movie a realistic feel. The ending is different from that in conventional films. The music is okay stuff. Some songs are peppy. Some are not required at all. They could have been restricted to just the audio release, if there was any absolute necessity to include them somewhere. They just slacken the pace of the movie. And, if the itches from the mootta poochis weren’t enough, there was this “Enna koduma sir idhu” dialogue that would make you pul-arichufy every time it came.

On the whole, the movie is a good attempt at a theme that is different from the usual ones that are taken up in Tamil movies. The movie can be a good watch provided you choose one of the better multiplexes within the city.

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