CAST : Nandha, Ananya, Nikesh Ram, Thambi Ramaiah.
RATING: **1/2 Above Average
Athithi is an adaptation of British-Canadian thriller and Pierce Brosnan starrer Butterfly on a Wheel. The movie was made as Cocktail in Malayalam few years back which was a hit.
Madhiyazhagan (Nandha), is a perfect family man and a key person of a leading construction firm. At home he lives a contended life with a beautiful wife Vasuki (Ananya) and a lovely daughter (Baby Yuvina). When Madhi’s boss invites him to his farm house to spend a day with him and Vasu also needs to attend a friend’s birthday party, they leave the child with the new-baby sitter who comes instead of the regular one.
Things go out of control for the couple when they offer a lift to a stranger Saravanan (Nikesh Ram) stranded on the road due to a car breakdown. The guy who appears little odd suddenly starts dictating terms and blackmailing the couple, telling them that their daughter is already in his custody. In the next seven hours, the couple is assigned a series of bizarre tasks and is forced to abide by what he says. First he asks them to withdraw their entire bank balance and much to their shock he burns the currency and throws the suitcase into a river. It turns out to be a nightmarish day as the couple is made to obey several weird things instructed by the psycho who appears to have nothing to lose. Towards the end, the reason for Saravanan’s unusual behavior is revealed which throws light on the truth behind the couple’s ideal life.
Nandha plays his part well. Ananya who returns to Tamil after a gap looks good and appeals with her neat performance especially in the climax. Debutant Nikesh Ram with his unkempt looks fits the bill and is convincing in a negative role. Thambi Ramaiah does what is expected out of him – tickling the funny bones. Though we have seen lot of inspired films in the past where the filmmakers play safe and settle for a risk- free subject, director Bharathan has touched upon the issue of extramarital relationships which are seldom addressed in Tamil cinema. Though he sticks faithfully to the original most part of it, his deviation in the climax where he shows the guilty woman (Ashwathi Varsha) getting victimized and letting off her male counterpart (here Nandha) guilt-less and who carries his life as usual is unconvincing. The movie moves at its own pace with inconsistent narration, but it has its thrilling moments as well. Bharadwaj’s music is just about adequate.
Location: Tamil Nadu