The plot starts off slowly, showing Pandi (Dinesh) waking up early to open a provision store in Andhra Pradesh owned by a Tamilian and in time we get to know that he had migrated from Tamilnadu along with three of his friends to eke out a living. All of a sudden he, along with two of his friends, are arrested by the Andhra police and after a few brutal torture scenes they get to know that they have been arrested in connection with a 1 crore theft case and that the police are trying to frame this case on to them since it involves the relative of a senior police officer and they are in a hurry to close the case.There is a point in the movie where the protagonists, do come out of the tough situation only to get embroiled in another larger conspiracy, where they seem to have no way out and what happens next forms the rest of the story.
The movie is gripping from the word go, and we get sucked into the plot without our knowledge. Every blow and torture that the protagonists are subjected to, we do feel the impact and the sound engineer and the cinematographer should be commended for the incredible feat, because we sense it as though we are right in the midst of the proceedings. There is a scene in the movie, where the policemen sharpen the branch of a coconut tree and get ready to bash the protagonists so that they accept that they had stolen the money. In this scene, we could realize and imagine the horror they are going to undergo and what it culminates into, is heart wrenching.
The director Vetrimaran, effectively shows, how no one is an exception when it comes to system (here, it refers to the police department) and that those who do not comply to the whims of the system, are either sidelined as outcasts or exterminated. The torture scenes are unsettling and not for the weak hearted and the true spine chilling fact is that these events happened in real life (based on the book "Lock Up" by M. Chandrakumar).
The movie is just under 2 hours long and it just whizzes past, thanks to top notch crisp editing by the "late Kishore TE". There are no unwanted songs and comedy tracks, thankfully, but a romantic angle between Pandi (Dinesh) and Shanti (Anandhi) which do not lend much to the main plot. Dinesh has matured into a beautiful performer who lends himself completely into the hands of the able Director, Vetrimaran. I also came to know that he did suffer injuries along with a few others while filming and did suffer emotional trauma after the film, which is understandable, since it has left a deep impact on my psyche as well and made me wary of the local policeman. Hope he gets to play lot more meaty characters in future as well.
Actor Kishore has a role integral to the main plot of the movie and being a seasoned performer that he is,he has played the part more than adequately. Actor Murugadoss, one of the other protagonists has also played a huge part and he has shown how he can excel when a good role comes along. One of the standout performers in the movie, according to me, is definitely Samudrakani. His character is a very complex one and he carries the responsibility with ease and there could be no other person who could have justified the character more than him.
GV Prakash has provided ample support to the Director. Last but definitely not the least, Director Vetrimaran needs to be applauded for, firstly, taking up such a controversial subject and secondly, not succumbing to commercial needs and making the movie how it ought to be made. From choosing the actors, to the technicians and to make optimum use of their capabilities, the Director needs to be sure of what he needs and also needs to be on top of his game. We all had seen a spark in Vetrimaran when "Polladavan" released and he did prove with "Adukalam"that his first movie was not a "flash-in-the-pan" lucky one. With "Visaranai", he has proved his mettle and shown to the world what a mature Director he can become, when given an opportunity to make the film the way he wants to, without any hindrances and for that producer "Actor" Dhanush needs to be appreciated.
VISARANAI is an "in your face", hard hitting, gruesome, gut wrenching, unapologetic, heart breaking true story which will leave an impact on you,like me, long after watching it...If you love the routine commercial song and dance movies and the romcoms (nothing against this genre though, i personally love them as well), this movie is not for you. If you love cinema which portrays a slice of life and provides a message along with brilliant film making of international standards and for those who ponder why we do not make hard hitting authentic films on par with Hollywood and World cinema "Visaranai" is the answer.
My rating is definitely a 4/5 and this movie has already become a cult film. Hats off to Vetrimaran and his team for providing a unique movie watching experience.