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Cast: Arya, Bharath, Pooja, Padmapriya
Language: Tamil
Director: Vishnu Vardhan
Producer: Punnagai Poo Geetha
Camera: Nirav Shah
Story: Vishnu Vardhan
Screenplay: Vishnu Vardhan
Dialogue: Vishnu Vardhan
Music: Yuvan Shankar Raja
Year: 2006

Vishnuvardhan is the new style mannan among Tamil film directors, as proved by his debut film and now the latest Pattiyal. Stylistically inventive throughout, Vishnuís foray into Chennaiís mean street inhabited by hired killers and ordinary slum dwellers arouse your interest and admiration for the director.

Video footage, moodily-lit authentic locations, intermittent flashes of zippy-zappy editing, top-line performances, digital imaging, knock out action scenes, great music and re-recording are just some of the highlights.

Pattiyal has a straightforward plot with an emotional core. Vishnu has beautifully etched out the friendship and bonding between two orphans, Koshy (Arya) and Selva (Bharath) who are hired killers for a middleman Sami (VMC Haneefa). Koshy is an emotionless, rough and tough guy who talks a lot while Selva is a fearless, deaf and dumb guy with some human emotions.

They are happy with whatever they make out of as contract killers for the rich and powerful and canít think of life beyond their slums. Saroja (Padmapriya), a girl working in a garment company is crazy about Koshy who does not have any feeling for her. Selva meets Sandhya (Pooja) a salesgirl in a medical shop and they fall in love, which brings out the hidden romantic feelings and emotions in him. One day Sami gets them a big contract to kill a Kovai based businessman and politician Nachimuthu Gounder (Santhanabharathy), which turns their life upside down leading to a savage and brutal climax.

On the acting front, Vishnu has extracted astonishingly life-like performance from the lead cast. As Sami the middleman, VMC Haneefa is a surprise packet. Padmapriya as Saro is a revelation totally contrary to the image she had so far while Pooja as Sandhya is good. Arya is so hot-n-cool that you feel the fire-n-ice within. His body language and mannerism personifies the wry gangster with dollops of humour and his romantic encounters with Padmapriya are fun to watch.

But it is Bharath who is virtually the scene stealer. He has an author-backed role and you cannot take your eyes off him. As Selva the mute, he has an impassive face and his large eyes convey all the strangled emotions of a person unable to communicate with people around him. The scene where he bumps off Gounder towards the climax has the audience clapping and whistling!

Technically, Pattiyal is top class. Nirav Shahís lighting and camerawork, Raj Kannanís dialogues and Sreekar Prasadís crisp editing gives the film an extra edge. Yuvan Shankar Rajaís music and background score is the life of the film and the songs are brilliantly inserted into the narrative. The first half is slightly slow while the tempo catches up in the last twenty minutes of the film which is racy and riveting. Vishnuvardhan has etched out the mute Selva character from Bangkok Dangerous and the atmosphere of City of Gods.

On the whole, Pattiyal is the most realistic gangster movie made in recent times with style and substance.

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