Dhuruvangal Pathinaaru aka D-16  – A Visual Jigsaw
Never have I waited to see a film in its second release, in my recent memory. I mean, heaving heard about one of the most positive talk about the project Dhuruvangal Pathinaaru now celebrated as D-16, I’d a watched it with elevated anticipation. A slow burning investigative thriller to this level of perfection is undoubtedly fresh to Tamil Cinema. Karthick Naren, 22 (!) with this directorial debut triumphantly announces that he is ‘filmmaker’ in all its true sense. D-16 has a simple story when said straight, but the way he presents it visually, to be more precise, deserves him to be addressed as a filmmaker and not just a director. A red carpet welcomes bro!
This film has already has reached a cult status. SO let me not squander my words in praise of it. Nor am I going to blow my trumpets for Naren, again. Instead I wish to present a kind of quick bulletins in the ways D 16 deviates from the rest and not has lent itself to clichés.
# The film though a slow burning thriller, gets into the story right from the start. It doesn’t seem to bother or intends to prepare the audience. I personally felt happy for Naren, at this point. Besides him revealing in the interviews that he had great confidence in the script, he in fact has put an equal confidence in the audience as well.
# This film proves that crime thrillers need not be brutal or bloody. The way visuals are handled especially in the crime sequences, the director shows his craftsmanship in informing the audience on what goes on screen, to every detail, yet clearly stays away from visually portraying it explicitly. For commercial films throughout the world, sex and violence are the selling points. But his young chap is clear in his vision.
# Though the dialogues are sharp the storyteller relays more on visuals than on verbal exchanges between the characters. The film cleverly deceives the audience with throwing the visuals in jumbled order and at times disconnected to the flow of the narration. This makes us to revise the might-be-story more frequently as the film progresses. That’s always a pleasure while watching a thriller.
# The viewing experience in analogy is like a puzzling game of jigsaw where many pieces are thrown across the table. Every now and then the narration drags us into a story and few moments later the jigsaw pieces rearrange themselves presenting a new story. This game is played till the very end and this is what we wow it as ‘gripping!’
# Another usual in investigative thrillers is that the process of unveiling the truth mostly comes through the ‘genius factor’ of the protagonist. But here in D 16 we see Inspector Deepak casually seeking the opinion of his subordinate and his theories too play a key role in the development of the investigation.
# ‘Every detail counts’ reads the tagline of the cinema. True to its words the entire film doesn’t rely in a plot twist. Usually the films of this genre often reveal a secret towards the end. But here the narration kind of puts you in the pillion and rushes through a series of twist leaving you glued to the seat. Though a bloody secret is revealed at the climax, by that time we’ve had enough and more twists. So it couldn’t be tagged as a plot twist.
# The voices of the characters, especially that of Inspector Deepak (subtly played by veteran actor Rahman, the only know face in the entire team) and that of constable Gautham , are so deep and arresting. The steadiness in their voices and the determination they showcase is thoroughly engaging. It’s a pleasure to the Tamil viewer to see a protagonist who doesn’t brag his genius, who doesn’t play the cool Mr. Smarty pants. Such qualities make the character more real and have certainly helped the audience to connect with Deepak with ease.
# The characters that roam in this fictional universe aren’t written black and white, none of them, including the lead character. The portrayal of every character reminds us of the reality ‘Never define anyone in black or white because there is a lot hiding in the greys!’
# The background score in such films many a times over work, become high decibel distractions instead of assisting the audience into the film. Thankfully the music score gives ample space to the silence and that in fact makes the visuals more engaging.
# When one puts lot of details into a story it might become more and more complicated to justify everything in the concluding act of the film. Surprisingly the writer-director indeed throws lots of details throughout the screenplay, yet manages to finish them in class.
The entire narrative structure is fresh, engaging and tightly woven. This breaths fresh hopes to the promising future of Tamil cinema.