Director R Ajay Gnanamuthu who gave us the impressive thriller Imaikkaa Nodigal has been rewarded with a whopping 100 crores budget in Cobra. The film is about a genius mathematician who takes down anyone to advance the growth of a mighty corporate conglomerate empire. Actor Vikram who was last seen on screens in the action crime thriller drama Vikram is back on screens with his psychological action thriller film Cobra. Actress Srinidhi Shetty has played the female lead role in the movie. So, how has the psychological action thriller movie Cobra come out? Will it help extend actor Vikram’s winning streak, and be a memorable movie in the career of director R Ajay Gnanamuthu? To know that let us get into the movie review.
Cobra opens a series of high-profile political assassinations of the Chief Minister of Odisha, Prince of Scotland, and Mayor of France. These killings send a shock wave in the international community, which drags the Interpol into the picture. A team led by Aslan Yilmaz (Irfan Pathan) is assigned to investigate the case. After initial investigation, with the killer’s modus operandi a criminologist frames a hypothesis that the killer could be a mathematical genius. Probably a mathematics professor. Meanwhile, Mathiyazhagan aka Mathi (Vikram), a mathematics lecturer gets ready to assassinate his next target who happens to be Dmitri Yugolsav, a Russian defense minister. But an unknown informer tipped off the Interpol of his plan. Leading them to place a tight security. Yep. You guessed it right. No security structures can keep lead heroes at bay, no?
Aslan Yilmaz, and team taps in to a conversation between Nellaiappan (K S Ravi Kumar), a journalist based in Kolkata, and Nawab (Suresh Chandra Menon), an employee of Rishi Corporation, an MNC run by Rajeev Rishi (Roshan Mathew). Aslan Yilmaz learns from the conversation that all the murders have a link, and a commonality. The victims were a stern critic of Rajeev Rishi. In parallel, Mathi suspects that someone is tracking his activities. Soon he receives a call from the person who gives a death threat to him. Learning about the developments, Rajeev Rishi tasks his henchmen to track and capture the unknown individual. Why are these murders committed, who is the unknown person threatening Mathi, what is his actual game plan, and why does he want to kill him, is what makes the rest of the film.
For starters, it is really difficult to digest that Cobra is dished out by the very filmmaker who cooked up Imaikkaa Nodigal. Director Ajay Gnanamuthu has got so ambitious with Cobra that he does not bother about rationale or coherence in constructing the story. Rather he plays to the star power of actor Vikram. Grandiose seems to be the ultimate drive behind the making of Cobra. We could witness a sense of extravagance even in minuscule things. If only director Ajay Gnanamuthu had put a quarter of this effort into building his plot, Cobra could have been a much better entertainer. The only bit where Cobra holds our attention is when the psychological shade of its lead character comes to the fore. Even that excitement is short lived. As we are bombarded with stretchy flashbacks that go far from the plot.
The storyline that director Ajay Gnanamuthu has opted to work on is not just formulaic but is an outdated one in the first place. Even his writing is too convenient. There is arbitrary nature in scene connectivity, and relies heavily on dramatic presentation of events. Besides actor Vikram’s character none of the characters have a proper characterization or significance to get us to root for them. They are deployed as mere pawns required to move the proceedings. Least to say about the female lead. The romance track instead of being a door that leads to relief, sends us to have our head in our hands. The final nail of the blunder coffin is its lengthy run time which augments the glaring loopholes of Cobra, and makes it appallingly difficult for us to sit through.
Actor Vikram has shown us that he is a high caliber performer with several characters he has portrayed. On that note, his performance in Cobra is yet another demonstration to flaunt his prowess as an artist. He has had great fun playing his roles. He is remarkable. Especially Cobra. He brings about a dynamic aura and color in depicting the part which adds to the quirkiness to the character. It is heartbreaking to watch his flair amount to nothing because of bad writing. In typical Tamil cinema-esque fashion, actress Srinidhi Shetty’s part does not have much say in driving the plot. Sadly, the actress struggles to perform even in a less to nothing role. Actor Irfan Pathan tries hard, but has a long way to go to be accepted as a performer. Actress Miya George does justice to her role. Actor Roshan Mathew lives up to his part. Actor Suresh Chandra Menon serves the purpose for which he was brought on board. Actress Mirnalini Ravi is okayish. Veteran actors K S Ravi Kumar and Anandaraj are adequate. Actor Robo Shankar is inconsistent in his job. Actors Shaji Chen, Meenakshi Govindarajan, John Vijay, Mohammad Ali Baig, Raneesh, Kumar Natarajan, and Adhik Ravichandran, have all chipped in and have played their part well. The rest of the cast has delivered what was asked of them.
On the technical front, music director A R Rahman’s tracks are dearth of his magic. His songs do not last in our memory for long. But he makes up for it with his pulsating background score that elevates mass moments of the film. Cinematographer Harish Kannan has put the cameras at right angles. His visuals are colorful and add strength to the flick. Editors Bhuvan Srinivasan and John Abraham have put their scissors at right spots to enhance the work of their colleague.
On the whole, director R Ajay Gnanamuthu’s desultory and reckless writing does colossal injustice to Vikram’s performance, and makes Cobra an excruciatingly tedious affair.