Dhuruvangal 16 is an investigative crime thriller directed by the 21 year old Karthick Naren. The tale is set in Coimbatore and surroundings, and we have a retired, crippled cop Deepak conversing with a young police aspirant about the most complicated, life-changing case that he handled. We are shown many possible versions of the crime incidents that may have happened and it’s a guessing game till the end, with constant twists and turns. You need to be constantly tuned into the proceedings to connect the dots properly in your mind. An incredible effort by a young filmmaker to show such command over the craft in his very first film.
– The complex, intelligent nature of Karthick’s screenplay and the non-linear edit patterns of Sreejith Sarang are a big plus. This is not the kind of film where you can sit back, relax with a popcorn and switch off your minds. A welcome relief from mindless entertainers! Karthick has a bright future ahead.
– The sound design, sound mix and background score are top-notch. Visually, the film has a slick look with the rain scenes particularly standing out. Karthick Naren, DoP Sujith Sarang, editor Sreejith Sarang, composer Jakes Bejoy and the entire crew come across as solid technicians.
– The dialogues are understated and classy in nature. The scenes when Rahman works on the case with his curious younger colleague are bolstered by good lines about police investigation, the expectations from a policeman and the intuition factor. The police ambiance has been rightly presented by Karthick.
– Rahman shows impressive screen presence as the ageing cop, and the salt and pepper look is a majestic addition to his handsome looks. But his accented Tamil sticks out sorely, at times.
– Apart from Rahman and Delhi Ganesh, the rest of the actors are newcomers. There is naturally some amateurishness in their performances. This factor may prevent the film from connecting with a large section of the masses. But, among this fresh lot, Prakash (as the young constable Gautham) and Santosh Krishna (as the cocky youngster Fabien) make a mark.
Final Word – Dhuruvangal 16 is a gripping, engaging crime thriller from the word go. It is devoid of commercial compromises and is one of the best films of the year!