Despite the solid technical side, the slow-paced screenplay that suffers from weak characters starts bothering us soon after the investigation procedure begins
A still from Kolai
Story: A popular singer-turned-model gets killed in a mysterious manner. A cop, who is assigned the job of finding the killer, seeks the help of a senior investigative officer to crack the case. The latter, despite reeling from a personal tragedy, comes up with interesting pieces of evidence that aid the former in solving the case.
Review: The promo videos of Balaji Kumar's Kolai were quite intriguing and set the right expectations for viewers. The whodunit revolves around the murder of a popular singer-model Leila (Meenakshi Chaudhary) that shakes an imaginative city called Madras. Sandhya (Ritika Singh), a dedicated cop, is assigned the case and she soon realizes that it isn't an easy task to solve the mystery.
Enter Vinayak (Vijay Antony), a senior investigative officer, whose inputs Sandhya seeks to crack the sensational case. A model coordinator, a corrupt cop, a friend and a musician among others are under the radar.
The premise set up by the makers is interesting and has ample scope for a riveting whodunit. The manner in which a few characters conveniently set up an alibi for themselves elevates the suspense associated with the story. The splendid making enhances some of the sequences, too.
Sivakumar Vijayan's visuals are a treat while Selva RK's editing pattern provides the slick look required for the movie's overall appeal. Girishh Gopalakrishnan's background score is neat and elevates some of the crucial portions. The makers manage to keep the audience hooked to a decent extent and stay true to its genre.
However, despite the solid technical side, the slow-paced screenplay that suffers from weak character designs starts bothering us soon after the investigation procedure begins. The protagonist deals with a family issue, but there aren't enough moments that enable us to relate to their trauma.
Neither are we really concerned about the murder after a point, thanks to the lack of edge-of-the-seat sequences which were expected in the film. The investigation pattern offers no surprise and is predictable like many whodunit movies. Vijay and Ritika, who appear in most of the scenes, are apt in their roles, but their characters aren't challenging or innovative.
Meenakshi is impressive in the role of a singer-model while the likes of Murali Sharma, John Vijay, Radhikaa and Arjun Chidambaram do not have much to do. The screenplay slightly picks up pace in the latter half, but the final revelation and the backstory are disappointing.
Though the story happens in the fictional city of Madras, where the high-rises and landscape remind us of European countries, the movie mentions places like Triplicane and the metro station in Chennai. Though it isn't sure what the intention behind creating a fictional city was, it couldn't add much to the story.
Verdict: Kolai has a seemingly interesting plot and a neat setup, but the weak screenplay and unengaging characterizations spoil the film's prospects. The appealing visuals do not keep the audience hooked for a long time.