Victim review: Pa Ranjith’s gripping short film stands out in anthology thriller while most others are downright bad

Published on Aug 05, 2022 10:45 AM IST
  • Victim review: Chimbu Deven, Rajesh M, Pa Ranjith and Venkat Prabhu have directed short films for the Tamil anthology. The cast includes Nasser, Thambi Ramaiah, Natraj, Priya Bavani Shankar, and Kalaiarasan among others.
Victim review: Pa Ranjith's short film Dhammam stars Kalaiarasan and Guru Somasundaram in the lead is the best of the lot.
Victim review: Pa Ranjith's short film Dhammam stars Kalaiarasan and Guru Somasundaram in the lead is the best of the lot.
ByHaricharan Pudipeddi

Sony Liv’s anthology series Victim, which explores the stories of four different victims, is a mixed bag. The series, directed by Pa Ranjith, Venkat Prabhu, Rajesh M and Chimbu Deven, leaves one with the feeling that it could’ve been a lot more as only two shorts leave somewhat of an impact. Among the lot, Ranjith’s short on land and its politics is hard-hitting and extremely moving while being squeamish at times. Venkat Prabhu’s segment is the second best and even though it borrows its basic plot from Joel Schumacher’s Phone Booth, it still works to a large extent. Other two short films from Rajesh M and Chimbu Deven are downright bad. Read more: Victim trailer give a glimpse of Chimbu Deven, Rajesh M, Pa Ranjith and Venkat Prabhu's short films

Pa Ranjith’s Dhammam stars Kalaiarasan and Guru Somasundaram in the lead. Ranjith continues to champion caste-based stories and this time he has shifted his focus on land politics. The story is centred on a middle-aged father and his tween daughter, who are busy readying their small piece of agricultural land for the harvest season. When a squabble with the owner of the surrounding acres of land goes out of hand, the father has to pay the consequences. Exquisitely shot, this segment about how land still defines someone’s identity is hard-hitting. It explains how people wear their caste and power pride on their sleeves, without ever thinking of the consequences. The realistic performances, especially the action sequences in the farmland, really make Dhammam stand out.

Chimbu Deven’s Kottai Pakku Vathalum Mottai Madi Sitharum is an interesting fantasy comedy about our blind faith in godmen. Maybe as a standalone film with some better writing, this story would’ve worked more effectively. However, it barely scratches the surface as part of this anthology thriller. Featuring Thambi Ramaiah and Nasser in the lead, the short explores how someone’s desperation can make us not differentiate between reality and illusion.

Rajesh M’s Mirrage has to be the weakest short of the series. It is centred on a young girl (Priya Bavani Shankar), who is forced to stay overnight in an abandoned villa which has been booked by her company. In no time, she starts to experience some paranormal activity in the villa and as she tries to make sense of the situation, the story takes a detour with a lame twist. The ending of this short is proof why most thrillers don’t work anymore with the audiences, when they’re taken for granted.

Venkat Prabhu’s Confession, starring a spunky Amala Paul and Prasanna, borrows its basic plot from Joel Schumacher’s Phone Booth. Despite the borrowed plot idea, this short still manages to work to a large extent, thanks to the performances. Amala is so comfortable as an ambitious young woman living life on her own terms. The short film tries to analyse how quickly we form opinions about people around us based on their looks and how they carry themselves.

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