Director: Ashwin Saravanan
Cast: Nayanthara, Sathyaraj, Vinay Rai, Anupam Kher and Haniya Nafis
Music: Prithvi Chandrashekar
Rating: 3.5 stars
Director Ashwin Saravanan, who is best known for having made the neat thriller ‘Maya’, delivers yet another winner called ‘Connect’.
The film is a well made supernatural thriller that has enough substance to keep you glued to the screen from start to finish.
The story is set during the first lockdown the government imposed to curb the spread of the Covid pandemic.
Dr Joseph Benoy (Vinay Rai), a committed and dedicated doctor by profession, is living happily with his wife Susan (Nayanthara) and gifted daughter Anna (Haniya Nafis).
Anna, a gifted musician, wants to head to London where she has secured admission to the famed London School of Music. However, her mother Susan is against her daughter leaving to a foreign country on her own even before finishing school. Both mother and daughter are at loggerheads over this decision.
Benoy, who is exceptionally close to his daughter, backs Anna’s demand to go to London. Just as he is convincing his wife to let her go, he gets a call from his hospital summoning him to work, saying that there has been an outbreak of a deadly virus.
Benoy heads to work but then, never returns home. He works in the hospital treating Covid patients and eventually gets infected before falling victim to the dreaded virus.
Just before his death, he tries to connect with his wife and daughter through a video conference. During the meeting, he asks Anna to sing a song for him. However, Anna who can’t bear to see her dad gasping for breath, runs out of the room. Unfortunately, the last opportunity to interact with dad passes away with his death.
Both Susan and Anna are shaken by Benoy’s death. Anna in particular is heartbroken and regrets not speaking with her dad the last time. She decides to connect with her dad’s spirit using witchcraft and hires the services of a woman who speaks with spirits. She does this without her mother’s knowledge.
With the lockdown having been imposed across the nation, she connects online with the woman indulging in witchcraft. The idea is to summon her dad’s spirit but what happens next is something totally unexpected…
Ashwin Saravanan weaves a gripping story that is rooted in realism. This plays a crucial role in adding intensity to the plot. He cleverly builds his story’s plot around well known developments that left the world rattled a couple of years ago.
Also, his gift for narrating stories in a simple and non-complicated way make the story relatable and believable and make you empathize with the lead characters.
In fact, you almost feel Nayanthara’s desperation when she struggles to look for help to rescue her daughter from a supernatural power about which she knows nothing. There is little that she can do as it is a lockdown and she is prohibited from leaving her house.
Vinay Rai is brilliant as Dr Benoy. He appears for only a small portion but does a great job. Sathyaraj and new comer Haniya Nafis deliver what is expected of them. Nayanthara and Anupam Kher as always do a stellar job.
Simply put, Ashwin manages to make you sweat in fear and freeze in fright throughout the film, right till the time it ends.
Cinematographer Manikandan Krishnamachary’s visuals and Prithvi Chandrashekar’s music complement each other so beautifully that it’s hard to separate the two from each other and rate them. For all practical purposes, they combine to form a unit. In certain places however, Prithvi wisely choses silence over background music to heighten expectations and build tension. On the whole, both technicians do a stellar job.
In short, ‘Connect’ is easily the best among the seven films that released this week and is definitely worth a watch if you are into horror films.