The story opens on a Monday at the Changi Prison in Singapore. A woman, the mother of two young boys, one of whom is mentally challenged, is to be hanged. By the weekend, she is executed. The inconsolable husband vanishes, leaving the boys at the mercy of their uncle, who takes them under his wing. The boys grow up, and we get to know that their uncle is a drug peddler. He and his gang use the boys for the business. Singaiyil Kurukshetram (V/UA) has several such strands of suspenseful lines, but writer-director T.T. Dhavamani, weaves them all into a cohesive whole. Not a single event is left unexplained. Dhavamani also ensures that suspense is maintained till the end. The sequences that are left to the viewers' inference have also been intelligently chiselled. Punishment is very severe in Singapore and so underworld activity is comparatively less, but it isn't a completely crime-free zone, says Singaiyil …
If you expect the performances to be contrived, you are off the mark. Almost all the actors lend credibility to the parts they play. Vishnu (hero Prakash), Mathialagan (Anbarasan, officer of the Narcotics Bureau), Sivakumar (the boys' uncle and drug peddler Vinod), and the young Prakash (Kishen Durairajoo) come up with spontaneous portrayals. Among them Sivakumar warrants special mention.
If it's Singapore it's high-rises and sparkling roads, and if it's Malaysia, it's the Petronas Towers and the quaint lingo, we think. But organised crime is as much a reality in these countries, as this … Kurukshetram shows.
Veeraraghavan's art isn't interested in highlighting a sparkling Singapore. Hence the milieu isn't on expected lines. The drug den is an eerie home. And it is rather puzzling that they are packing the dope in full view in a hall! (Probably there are men guarding the gates?)
The mentally challenged brother, Subra, hides himself whenever brother Prakash tells him to, and comes out only when he hears Prakash's voice calling out loud that he has lost the game. So in the climax, you don't expect him to emerge from the shed where he's hiding as soon as he hears his counsellor's voice. But he does! Here Subra's reaction isn't in tune with his nature as you are given to understand.
Rafee's music is another enhancing aspect of Singaiyil. The telling silences followed by fast-paced music prove effective.
Except for the initial scenes which are artificial and lengthy, Dhavamani's screenplay is taut. Post-interval, Singaiyil … surges ahead towards an interesting climax.
Director: T. T. Dhavamani
Cast: Vishnu, Sivakumar, Mathialagan
Storyline: Lawmakers get tough, wrongdoers get tougher
Bottomline: An engaging tale of bloody deeds and extreme punishment