Cast: Guru Somasundaram, Kalaiyarasan, Thambi Ramaiah, Nassar, Priya Bhavani Shankar, Nataraj, Amala Paul, Prasanna
With the abundance of romantic and drama films these days, it has become a rare sight to watch edge-of-the-seat thrillers involving murder mysteries. Some of us also have a liking for gruesome whodunnits that we wish to solve by ourselves. The small anthology series titled ‘Victim-Who Is Next?’ on Sony Liv is a good 2 hour watch to quench the thriller thirst.
The series has 4 short films, directed by 4 well-known Kollywood directors, namely, Pa Ranjith, Chimbudevan, Rajesh M, and Venkat Prabhu. It has an ensemble cast including Kalaiyarasan, Guru Somasundaram, Thambi Ramaiah, Nassar, Priya Bhavani Shankar, Prasanna, Amala Paul, Vigneshkanth, Krish and Dinesh. All four short films revolve around murder mysteries, the irony however is that, in the end, we are left with cliffhangers, to decide the fate of the victim for ourselves.
Directed by Pa Ranjith, the first episode Dhamam, is set on agricultural fields with picturesque sceneries. This episode revolves around a small-time farmer and a land-owner, and their conflict. A small accident leads to one slaying another’s throat. What happens next forms the rest 15 minutes of the film. This movie in particular echoes the message of how Ego, Anger and Violence cloud us from thinking straight.
A young girl plays Guru Somasundaram’s daughter in the episode, and her performance beats even those of other veteran actors. The importance to characters given by Pa Ranjith is unique just like his other signature characters. However, the violence and action overtake more than half of the film, and it tends to make the watchers impatient. The fight especially, happens in muck, and therefore, it becomes all the more difficult to watch. If you have the patience to move past the action sequence, then the message at the end is a crystal clear one, worth waiting for.
Kottai Paaku Vathalum Mottai Maadi Sitharum, directed by Chimbu Deven, stars Thambi Ramaiah, Nassar and Vigneshkanth in titular roles. Chimbu Deven always has a liking towards comedy and fantasy ideas. However, this is the first time the director has brought in a mystery twist to his fantasy and comic short film. It revolves around a sub-editor who wishes to interview a Seer, in order to write a good article and impress his boss to retain his job during the Covid times. Does he succeed is the question we find answers to, at the end of the film.
Chimbu Deven’s comic style makes an appearance in this episode too. He brings in the famous rapid fire from Thiruvilaiyadal between Nagesh and Sivaji Ganesan as well. The format of the episode is a conversation between Nassar and Thambi Ramaiah. The dialogues touch upon politics, religion and many other things, in the form of a satire. The ending is a pretty good twist, which some of us may anticipate. Still, it makes us think a little about what next, towards the end of the episode. Most of all, the murder theme of the series, is dealt with interestingly in this one. It ends with a question as to who the real victim is.
The third short film, Mirrage, is directed by Rajesh M, who generally only does comedy and romance movies. This movie is a psycho-thriller film, which is an area that Rajesh has not stepped into before. Starring Priya Bhavani Shankar and Natraj as the leads, we wonder how much justice Rajesh could have done to the thriller genre. But, we will be left with content and satisfaction towards the end, as this episode in particular not only acts as a thriller, but also as a horror flick.
Both Natraj and Priya have showcased brilliant performances in this story. While there are some logical questions that seem like loopholes in the beginning of the episode, once completed, we feel like these loopholes could be neglected. Apart from the illogical parts, the horrific angles and thrilling sounds bring us to the edge of our seats. This way, this movie is a good horror cum thriller flick.
Directed by Venkat Prabhu, who has also produced this entire series, Confession forms the last episode of this four-episode anthology. It stars Amala Paul and Prasanna in predominant roles, and Krissh in a supporting role. Revolving around the theme of confessions, the episode highlights ideas of guilt and punishment. This film has a typical Venkat Prabhu touch to it in terms of storyline. Surprisingly, it also deals with a more serious idea, than the usual fun and frolic Venkat Prabhu delivers to us. While some parts of this episode feels slow, the thrill is worth watching till the end.
This series has veteran actors, so there is no specific need to mention about their acting. But, in specific, the best performances of this anthology includes, the young girl in Pa Ranjith’s film, Amala Paul, and Nataraj. Some shots in Pa Ranjith’s film are also worth a mention. In a scene, a shot where the mucky water slowly turns red, just symbolises the standing of time, because of the accidental murder that has happened. Shots like these are seen here and there, across the four films.
On the whole, the series is a good entertaining thriller, with directors who have given us films with different themes and genres. All four directors have been in this industry for a while, and this series is quite different from their other works. While it has some loopholes here and there, these could be avoided, to have a thrilling experience on the whole.
Verdict: Watch it to explore the thrilling side of these four directors!