'100' movie review: A passable thriller with a laughable twist

Atharvaa doesn’t boast of a colourful resume. A cursory look at his filmography, and you can easily slot it into three phases. The romantic phase where he made films like Baana Kaathadi and Muppozhudhum Un Karpanaigal. The catering to B and C centres phase, with films like Eeti, Kanithan and Chandi Veeran. Currently, Atharvaa is in the mass zone. We saw that earlier in Boomerang and now, 100.

A college brawl involving a female student sets off things. The boys wait for Sathya’s (Atharvaa) arrival. He gets a slow-mo intro. Which is to say that he has arrived. But not quite.

What explains Tamil cinema’s fascination for naming police officers Sathya? Vijay was called Satyamoorthy in Pokkiri. Ajith Kumar was called Satyadev in Yennai Arindhaal. Sibiraj was Sathya in well, Sathya. Narain was Sathyavan in Anjathey (more about this later). Atharvaa too plays Sathya here. Yes, a police officer.

  • Cast: Atharvaa, Hansika Motwani, Yogi Babu and Radha Ravi
  • Director: Sam Anton
  • Storyline: Sathya aspires to be a super cop, but lands up working as a control room operator. When an opportunity presents itself, he tries to save the day.

The brawl ushers Sathya to meet Nisha (played by Hansika Motwani. More than 40 films, and she still cannot get the lip-sync right). The moment you discover that her name is Nisha, you squirm. Given Tamil cinema’s history, heroines who are named Nisha (Kajal Aggarwal was Nisha in Thuppakki... just saying) disappear after four scenes and two songs. And these songs, too, will have montages of the hero-heroine spending time on the beach, visiting recently-opened malls in Chennai, taking selfies, exhibiting their cuteness and so on. Sam Anton doesn’t seem to care about the clichés as long as the masses are entertained. Speaking of masses, Yogi Babu is the silver lining in 100. His gag involving Radha Ravi and Vishal is a hoot.

The premise borrows its one-liner from Mysskin’s gorgeous Anjathey — two friends-turned-foes rediscover their friendship, with sexual assault and extortion as the backdrop.

With a stern look and bulging biceps, Sathya hopes of becoming a rough-and-tough police officer, upholding justice. By his own terms, he doesn’t believe in earning quick money and wishes to sweat it out. When he finds out that his girlfriend is a telecaller, he laughs. But the joke is on him, for he’s commissioned to work as a control room operator, taking calls that begin with “hello, nooru”. The scenes inside the control room are genuinely interesting and present a picture as to how these officers function — like when they get a hoax call. Sathya is dejected by the setup, but is convinced by his superior officer, Pistol Perumal (Radha Ravi), that his 100th call would be a gamechanger.

100 has good ideas that needed better writing. For instance, packets of drugs are casually stuffed inside a cell phone box and delivered like an online order. The plot begins to heat up when a schoolgirl gets brutally murdered — something similar to the Swathi murder case. When Sathya receives his 100th call, from the same girl who was reported to be dead, he smells a network behind the kidnappings. But the film loses its audience when the director tries to stitch together the plausibility of events, with an absurd twist.

Tamil filmmakers are in their ‘woke’ phase right now and what better than sexual harassment cases, which have been making headlines every other day? Filmmakers tend to normalise sexual assault by reducing it to a narrative device, and end up harassing the audience. The latest entrant being 100.

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Printable version | Nov 24, 2021 12:36:29 PM |

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