'Beast', the Tamil-language original, today hit the cinemas in multiple languages. It is produced by Sun Pictures, while Dil Raju is presenting the Telugu vers
Veera Raghavan (Vijay) and his girlfriend Preethi (Pooja Hegde) are in a shopping mall when a group of Pakistan-backed terrorists lay siege. They want a dreaded terrorist named Omar Farooq released by the Indian government in exchange for a couple of hundred innocent captives in the mall.
Althaf Hussain (Selvaraghavan), a special officer, is fielded to negotiate with the terrorists and also plan a counter operation. Since Veera Raghavan is a former RAW spy, Hussain convinces him to use his skills to defeat the terrorists by behaving like a naive captive. Can the hero save the lives of his fellow hostages and shake the terrorists?
Thalapathy Vijay is effortless but his heroism is quite underwhelming. We don't get any kick watching the action episodes. That said, while his demeanour looked stiff and inadequately agile in the film's trailer, he is far better in the film. Pooja Hegde, who couldn't make proper use of the canvas presented by 'Radhe Shyam', gets to play a bland character whose vibrancy is limited to a couple of scenes.
Selvaraghavan, the filmmaker, makes his acting debut in the role of a special officer. His performance is somewhat artificial and somewhat funny. Yogi Babu plays a comical captive.
Most of the actors are unfamiliar. Redin Kingsley is good, but it is VTV Ganesh (as the MD of a security agency) who gets more dialogues than even the hero.
'Halamithi Habibo', whose lyrics sound incomprehensible, gets an inspired rendition from Anirudh. It entices more because of Jani Master's choreography. 'Jolly O Gymkhana', sung by Nakash Aziz, lacks the enlivening nuances of the Tamil original and is relegated to the post-climax segment. Anirudh's background score is ordinary barring a few flashes of brilliance.
The beats of the framers conjured up by cinematographer Manoj Paramahamsa are in sharp contrast to what he did for last month's release, 'Radhe Shyam'. R Nirmal's editing is not impressive. At more than 2 hours and 30 minutes, the film is unevenly paced, with the first half being a never-ending 1 hour and 30 minutes long.
Director Nelson last year won the hearts of the Telugu audience with 'Varun Doctor'. The situational humour in that film was spot-on. In 'Beast', the situational humour is ill-fitting because this is a superstar movie that could have done better without too many frivolous characters.
In the first 20 minutes itself, the film narrates the hero's disillusionment with RAW's unethical tactics. After an anti-terror operation in Kashmir, he is saddled with guilt pangs. After this serious segment, the film is a mix of comedy and hostage drama.
The hostage crisis results in a couple of action moments, including a gun battle in the mall. But nothing about the action scenes (choreographed by the Anbariv duo) is exciting.
The comedy works here and there but the flavour of the humour runs dry after a point. The humour in the second half, far from evoking laughs, tests your patience.
Compared to the first half, the second half is even more flippant. The writing lacks sparks, while the heroism is lacklustre. There is no energy in the way the anti-terror operations are planned by hook or crook. The terrorists behave like they are untrained idiots.
'Beast' is an illogical hostage action comedy.