: Aishwarya Dhanush
: Dhanush, Shruti Hassan, Prabhu, Bhanupriya, Rohini
Several months after Kolaveri Di raged the viral space like a tornado, 3 reveals that the song signifies a turning point in Aishwarya's debut film. Although the song is a cacophonous din lisped by the movie's male lead, Dhanush, 3 is reasonably well helmed and acted out. Set in Chennai in the pre-mobile telephone era when the wired gadget on the desk or in the public call office linked lovers, the story may be broadly described as a psychological mystery.
Narrated through a series of flashbacks, 3 introduces us to two shy school-going teens who find themselves desperately - and later overprotectively -- drawn to each other. The romance which begins with hesitant eye contact, and the subsequent marriage weathers early parental disapproval. Admittedly, there is not much of a story, and 3 pads it up with a long courtship when the boys ogles the girl, follows her on his bicycle/bike and eventually takes her for a spin that lands him in trouble with her father. All this may seem awfully familiar, but what does not, is the twist in the tale that shatters the couple's idyllic existence.
But this is also precisely where the narrative falters, slipping into the implausible. We never understand why some incidents take place at all in a country like India with its strong familial support. Why must Ram (Dhanush) and Janani (Shruti Hassan) battle their demons alone with only a friend in attendance? The friend, for that matter, could have changed the course of their lives, but does not. So, what begins as a promising plot dithers midway.
3 makes up for this rather unconvincing storyline by good performances. As the son of a rich father, essayed by Prabhu, Dhanush is marvellous in a role that may well be his career best. As a nonchalant schoolboy and later as a man tormented by fear and swinging between hallucination and reality, agony and ecstasy, he surprises us with his emotive ability. In many ways, Shruti reminds us that she is her mother, Sarika's (and Kamal Hassan's) daughter, giving a top-notch portrayal of a woman torn between love and angst that often borders on the possessive, though she goes overboard in the emotional scenes.
The core plot dealing with perplexing facets of human psychology may have been beaten to death, but yet 3 manages to hold our attention till the last frame. But the terse footnote which says suicide is not the solution for any problem is an annoying cliché.