Bongu: A heist film that fails to steal us
Cast: Natarajan Subramaniam, Ruhi Singh, Sharath Lohitashwa, Atul Kulkarni
The trailer made it apparent that it was going to be a heist film on the lines of Natarajan's (Natty) Sathuranga Vettai. But what we have is a film you get when you chuck the franchises of Dhoom, Fast and the Furious and Gone in 60 seconds into a blender. The film's lead, Natty, and his gang of friends are a bunch of thieves who make a living out of stealing cars and handing them over to a dealer. As always, there's the portion where they have to reveal what made these, otherwise normal, youngsters fall on the wrong side of the tracks, and that reason is the usual one given in Tamil cinema to explain protagonists who break the law.
On screens that usually throw up titles like as 'Superstar' and 'Ulaganayagan', appeared the rather amusing 'Rare Piece' Natty as the credits rolled. And just a few minutes into the film, one can't help but wonder what's so 'rare' about Natty. He's seen sporting the same look as his previous films, trying to hone his Rajini-like mannerisms, and throw some thought provoking one liners; things we've seen in most of his films, including his last outing Enkitta Mothathe. While his acting appears rather stilted at places, he makes up for it in the fight portions where his tall stature comes in handy. Sharath Lohitashwa is a talented character artiste who's often given the ill-fated villain role. In Bongu he's the powerful antagonist who loves collecting cars and, as always, the man backstabs another person to acquire the latter's wealth, which leads to another storyline. And when a voice-over, during the establishing shot of Sharath, states that he's a man with a thing for rare and expensive cars, I expected a fleet of Lamborghinis, Ferraris, Bentleys. or at least, a couple of Maseratis. But no, the only car in his 'collection' that's worth mentioning is a Rolls Royce Ghost, around which the second half revolves. With Natty taking a major chunk of the screen space, there's little for his on-screen friends, including model-turned-actress Ruhi Singh, to do. Atul Kulkarni, as the honest and straightforward cop, spends most of his little time in the spotlight smoking and twisting his metal bracelet over his wrist. The National Award winning actor is terribly underused, and in keeping with the tradition of our films, he turns up right at the climax to arrest the wrong-doers. While an item number is a given in such a script, the director raises the bar (in a bar) to make space for two of them.
What works in the film are the car chase sequences, and Gopi Krishna's editing through which he has managed to make the film racy at parts. Ramdoss's comedy scenes provoke laughter at places, and Chaams has done a decent job with his minuscule role which leads up to a rib-tickling moment. The film has tried to ride on the wave of Sathuranga Vettai's success, and to those who expect Bongu to be similar, please read the film's title once again.