Director: R Kannan
Cast: Atharvaa, Megha Aakash, Indhuja Ravichandran, RJ Balaji
R Kannan’s Boomerang wants to be a lot of things. It wants to entertain you by being the unabashed mainstream film that it is but falls terribly short.
It wants to be funny with the Tamil cinema staple of the hero’s friend character. The one who is busy making fun of his friend – the protagonist – or is making terrible jokes about the female lead and her friend. Boomerang has Atharvaa playing double role, so we get two friends here – one played by Sathish and another by RJ Balaji.
The only joke that works in the whole film has to do with Atharvaa’s father – Murali. And it is a classic one, nothing original about it. The film also wants to be socially conscious, taking on a host of recent socio-political issues and throwing them at you on a whim, not necessarily because they make sense and fit into the screenplay.
It also wants to be a thriller, keep us at the edge of our seats because for the most part we are as clueless as Shiva (Atharvaa) with some men looking to kill him, and making a shoddy job of it three consecutive times.
All this because Shiva suffered severe burns to his face and had Shakti’s face transplanted on him. Boomerang begins on a grim note, soon after Shiva’s fire accident and the first fifteen minutes are almost funereal.
There is a sudden tonal shift post the face transplant and we have everyone in Shiva’s family and his friend making light of him getting used to his new face. There is a joke about the photograph in his driving license and another about his sister wanting to introduce him to her friends because she’s now got a good-looking brother.
The tonal inconsistency plagues the whole film and Boomerang never takes off till about three quarters in. Every time things get serious in the first half, either you have Sathish, with an ill-timed ill-advised joke, diffusing the scene off any emotional heft or Megha Akash shoehorned as a student filmmaker in a shoehorned romantic track that had no business being in the film.
The first 30 minutes of Boomerang is an embarrassment in the name of filmmaking – the film has the energy of a marathon runner at the finish line, scenes don’t flow from one to another and even the blocking seems amateur. The student filmmaker probably made a better short film.
It’s shocking because it is the same Kannan who gave us the very funny, fuss free Jayamkondan in his debut. Fuss free is a phrase you cannot associate with Boomerang. Kannan wants to stage every recent political issue into his script and the resulting mixture is a confused mess.
There is everything from Sterlite to Cauvery that is either explicitly mentioned or drawn upon. There are jokes about the Aadhar card and a completely random mention of NEET. Issues that might have occurred long after Boomerang finished filming find an echo in it.
At the centre of it is the disappearance of an activist and currently Google is the only place that will not stay silent if you ask, “Where is Mugilan?”, someone associated with the Sterlite protests.
But Boomerang fails to combine these issues in any organic fashion. It could have used these only as backdrop and built a racy action thriller.
Or it could have gone all in and taken these issues more seriously instead of attempting to make them palatable using all the bad habits of mainstream Tamil cinema. Kannan wants to focus on the agrarian crisis and sings paeans of farmers, stresses on river linking.
He also makes some questionable, unfathomable decisions. Only in his film would three IT professionals, after getting fired, would choose to turn to farming on a piece of land with no water.
How did he choose one of the most ideologically bankrupt lot for this idealistic third act will be a mystery to anyone. But I guess anything can fly in a film where Upen Patel quotes the kural.