Like aged and mellowed spirits, director Bharati Raja has matured and levitated towards one of his first loves - a whodunit.
His earlier suspense thriller "Sigappu Rojakkal" starring thespian Kamal Haasan was a hit. Though not in the same class of Agatha Christie's murder mysteries about showbiz personalities, "Bommalattam" is an experience that keeps one glued to the edge of the seat.
It concerns three murders with a single thread - its psychotic protagonist movie director Rana (Nana Patekar).
However, one is still to fathom the fixation of filmdom with the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), whose officer Varma (Arjun) unravels the plot in "Bommalattam".
The story revolves around Rana, a seemingly clever murderer who leaves no clues behind to nail him. The cat and mouse game that follows keeps the audience guessing till the end.
The central, subtle theme of puppetry with enough indications of strings being pulled from an altogether unexpected quarter actually embellishes the film.
One comes out of the cinema hall with a hangover due to a scintillating performance by Patekar, whose histrionics pale "action king" Arjun into significance. Kajal, who makes a bow through this venture, has an easy screen presence.
Reshammiya's music does not impress, but the background score is apt and takes the movie to a different plane.
Raja has handled his theme well and the stars know when they see a good script.
Cinematographer Kannan, a regular in all of Raja's ventures, has done a perfect job.
There are picture postcard shots galore - the nicest part of a Raja movie.
Kannan deserves more than a pat on the back.