A film which is as familiar to anyone as a walk around the block. Charming and entertaining, maybe. Original and groundbreaking, maybe not.
OVERALL SCORE – 2.75/5
Chennai 600028 is a Tamil coming of age film written and directed by Venkat Prabhu and starts Jai, Siva, Premgi Amaren, Ilayarasu and a whole host of other actors who make up the cricket teams and the community at large. The film portrays a year in the life of a set of youths who are a part of a local cricket team.
Venkat Prabhu makes his mark on the Tamil film industry with a light, breezy and overall solid first film. His tastes and hallmarks are there for all to see even with his first film even though they are quite unpolished. There are some creative camera moves, some wasted subplots, some fun dialogue, Premgi Amaren, all that and more a Tamil audience member may have come to expect while buying a ticket for his movies. The primary question however is if the film rises above a level of acceptable mediocrity.
The film does the smart thing of not succumbing to some genre clichés. For example, it does not have a stereotypically all good and stereotypically all evil team, the running jokes have punch lines which appear at the third act of the film, it does not make the cardinal sin of saying a crappy team was transformed into champions with the arrival of one new guy, etc. The cleverness exhibited through these moments cannot be found throughout the whole run time. The film does meander quite a bit with some unnecessary subplots and cheap moments of tension. The third act loses quite a bit of steam because of these errors.
The performances are quite good across the board even if the film does not require nuance. It keeps things at a surface level and all the characters wear their hearts on their sleeves which may not be to a discerning movie audience’s liking but it works well enough to tickle the nostalgia bone for most others. A few of the songs are quite good and help add more character than the scenes in the film, at a few moments.
There is a point to be made that this film does not scale the heights it could with either the coming of age genre or the sports movie genre, but in all honesty it is not trying to. It is not going to be remembered along the lines of Lagaan or Golconda High School in terms of the best films with cricket as the backdrop. The film however like its characters is nothing special. These are boys one may see around their neighborhood on a daily basis. Once one sees them for a long enough time, they seem ordinary. That is the same feeling the film indulges in. The film is those ordinary set of boys, a known entity. The film may not surprise you but it will keep you entertained.
OVERALL SCORE – 2.75/5