Stars : ****
Cast: Santhanam, Tara Alisha Berry, MS Bhaskar, Lollu Sabha Swaminathan, Yatin Karyekar, Motta Rajendran and others
Music: Santhosh Narayanan
Cameraman: Gopi Jagadeeshwaran
Actor Santhanam makes a very strong come back with this laugh riot called A1, short for Accused Number 1. The film is a rip-roaring comedy that has you in splits right from the word go.
Divya(Alisha Berry), the pretty daughter of Anantha Raman (Yatin Karyekar), an honest and upright government officer belonging to the Brahmin community, desires a partner from her own community. The only other quality she is looking for in her life partner, apart from the fact that he must be from her own community, is that he must be be bold and violent like a rowdy sheeter.
Although she has several admirers from her own community, none fit the bill.
It is at this point that one day she goes to meet a prospective life partner. She decides to put him to the test and has a few hired goons to misbehave with her in his presence. To her dismay, he flees.
But then, unexpectedly, Saravanan(Santhanam), who happens to be passing by and who is on his way to the temple, to her rescue.
Divya falls for Saravanan or Saro, mistaking him to be a member of the Brahmin community. However, he does not belong to the Brahmin community but is from a lower middle-class Hindu family.
What happens when Divya gets to know that Saro is not from the Brahmin community? More importantly, how does her family and especially, her dad, react when they get to know Divya’s choice? What does Saro do to win his girl’s hand? All of these questions are answered by A1.
Santhanam, who, in his earlier quest to showcase himself as a proper hero had lost his ability to make people laugh, seems to have regained that golden touch.
Every single joke that he cracks in the film works. An analysis shows us what he’s managed to get right this time and why his jokes in this film work.
Apparently, Santhanam showcases himself as a common man instead of showcasing himself as a hero. For instance, in the first introductory scene, he does a stunt on the bike to impress the girl. But just when you think ‘There he goes again!’, he begins to stumble as a result of the giddiness caused by the frequent spins. That makes him the guy next door and what could have ended up annoying viewers makes them break into laughter. The fight that follows this scene too has been well thought out. Santhanam is not the hero who bashes up 5 to 7 baddies with his bare hands.
In fact, he is shown struggling to take on thugs who are old enough to be his granddads. Eventually, he figures a funny way to outsmart them. This is precisely what seems to have worked in Santhanam’s favour. His willingness to show himself as a lesser mortal seems to have brought the humour back in his jokes. And this works big time in the film.
Tara Alisha Berry, as Divya, does a fantastic job. She sparkles like a newly minted penny and is easily the focus of attention every time she appears on screen. Her screen presence and her ability to retain the attention of the audiences make her a valuable asset to any film unit.
The film has a huge star cast, comprising mainly comedians. And almost all of them deliver. M S Baskar as Santhanam’s dad is just fabulous. His ability to deliver dialogues that are in ‘Chennai Thamizh’ flawlessly makes the audiences roar with laughter every time he appears on screen. The same can be said of the guy who plays Santhanam’s house owner.
The film has several pluses. The first is that the film does not offend anyone. All it does is it offers entertainment. Director Johnson seems to have a thorough understanding of the audience’s mindset and delivers only what they have in mind. The fact that he has kept the film to just about two hours is proof of this understanding. The content is good and the film’s story is tight and funny. What more can one ask? This film is clearly the winner in the race for the top position at the box office this week!