OTT release are the new normal now. In Blood Money we have another OTT release. Director Sarjun KM who stirred a topic of debut with his debut short film Lakshmi ventured in to Tamil cinema with horror drama Airaa. Unfortunately, the flick did not do well in the box office as much as the noise it generated on social media. Now, the story teller is back with his thriller movie Blood Money. Actress Priya Bhavani Shankar who was last seen in Oh Manapenne plays the lead role in the film. So, how has the entertainer come out? Is it solid enough to give director Sarjun KM and actress Priya Bhavani Shankar the commercial success that they are after? To know that let us get in to the movie review.
Blood Money narrates the journey of an aspiring journalist Rachel Victor (Priya Bhavani Shankar) and her battle to save two innocent lives in a foreign nation. when the film opens, we see an elderly couple in rural part of Tamil Nadu being informed over a phone call about the capital punishment that is to be inflicted on their two sons Kaliyappan (Kishore) and Anjaiha (Aravind) the next day in Kuwait. They are shaken and have no idea as to how to save their sons. In a helpless state they decide to approach the local authorities for help. The district official aid them with the procedures. But an officer realizes the time frame for the process to get through is lengthy. Reckoning that time is of essence in the case, he shoots a video of the couple asking for help and shares it in his circle. Meanwhile, the two sons in the prison are worried sick. Especially, the elder brother Kaliyappan who fears he might never get to see his daughter that he has never seen.
The video shared by the official reaches Rachel Victor, a journalist who has been newly appointed as a sub-editor. She is yet to come to terms with the tragic loss of her father while she was a child. So, the call for help from the older couple, coupled with the situation of the daughter who is about the same age as her when she lost her father, moves her, and she decides to do her best to aid them. In order to get a clear picture of the case she begins her own investigation. She seeks help from her colleagues as well. With only hours left for the hanging, will Rachel Victor and her team be able to save them from the ropes, is what makes the rest of the flick.
Director Sarjun KM is known for his bold and fresh content. At least that is what his short films tell us. Surprisingly, he shreds the very identity that he created for himself with Blood Money and attempts to be a mere commercial board. The result, we get a template thriller drama that never bothers about engaging the audience. Blood Money takes a long time to take off. It wanders about in the initial portions really giving away nothing. During these portions it tries to lure us in to the proceeding with an emotional touch with the father daughter sentiment angle. But these sequences are not convincing and lack authenticity. They are just passed on as information and we do not get to see their connection. There is also a mother’s sentiment angle which suffers from the same fate. One could not help but feel that these scenes are tailored just to play with the emotions of the audience.
Blood Money is billed as investigative thriller. Even Rachel Victor is introduced to us as a well-read intelligent woman. But the investigation is so elementary. Even children write better investigative thrillers these days. The moment from one point to another happens without putting our intelligence to test and without breaking any sweat. Sample this, for a recently promoted young sub-editor of a media house, Rachel Victor gets in touch with powerful officials in no time, travels to Sri Lanka through illegal transportation, and what not. Everything happens just like that. Just like his short films with powerful woman characters that root heavily for woman empowerment, director Sarjun KM wants even Rachel Victor to be in line with them. But unfortunately, his characterization of Rachel Victor is so bad that it only talks commercial feminism. It is disappointing to witness such a film from a talented film maker. Perhaps, the need for commercial elements had too much bearing on director Sarjun KM.
Actress Priya Bhavani Shankar tries to do a Nayanthara in Blood Money. From the way she carries herself to the way she reacts and looks, everything resembles actress Nayanthara. This does not look accidental. Rather seem like a deliberate effort to replicate the actress. It is high time that actress Priya Bhavani Shankar realize that she needs to find her own aura, if she is to travel long in k-town. Actor Kishore is effective as a doting father who is scared of losing his life. Actor Metro Shirish is adequate. The rest of the cast has delivered what was asked of them.
On the technical front, musician Sathish Raghunathan’s tracks are not inspiring. Despite no song making a lasting effect, his back ground score help in building a tense rhythm. Cinematographer G. Balamurugan has managed to cover the movie in the best possible way. Editor Prasanna GK has complimented the work of his colleague quiet well.
On the whole, director Sarjun KM’s blunt and comfortable storytelling along with actress Priya Bhavani Shankar’s Nayanthara act sinks Blood Money.
Blood Money is available for streaming on ZEE5 OTT platform.