Balu Mahendra, the famous director of acknowledged classics like Moondraam Pirai ,
returns after a long hiatus with this thriller. He is no stranger to this genre, having earlier directed the creepy Moodu
Pani. Like that movie, which was based on Psycho, Julie Ganapathy too is adapted from a Hollywood
movie Misery (that movie was in turn based on Stephen King's book of the same name. Balu Mahendra claims that
his movie is based on the Tamil translation of an English book by someone called Esthoppan and not the movie but agrees
that Esthoppan might just be the Tamil version of Stephen. To his credit, he has credited the original story to Esthoppan).
But such issues aside, the movie is a well directed thriller refreshingly different from the masala and romance themes we've
been subjected to recently.
Thenkaasi Balakumaran(Jayaram), the writer behind the megahit serial Manga on TV, leads a happy life with his
wife Vijaya(Ramya Krishnan) and daughter. On the way back from Periyamalaiyur, where he has just concluded
Manga, Balakumaran gets into an accident but is rescued by Julie Ganapathy(Sarita), his self-declared 'Number
one fan'. Julie takes him home and nurses him back to health but a bedridden Balakumaran soon realises that Julie may
be a little psychotic. She is not happy with the way he has ended Manga and has no intention of letting him go till he
The movie is well paced, starting off in a leisurely manner before slowly increasing speed and then racing to a frenetic
climax. Unlike other thrillers, the movie is essentially a two-character piece with the interaction between Sarita and Jayaram
occupying the bulk of the screen time. But inspite of such limited characters, it manages to incorporate all the elements
that go into making a successful thriller. It places the hero in a role with limited mobility and pits him against a woman who
is his equal not just mentally but physically too. There are sequences that get our pulse racing and moments that bring us to
the edge of our seats.
The movie boasts of a number of sequences that raise our tension. Jayaram's exploration of the house while Sarita's gone and
his frantic attempts to get back to his room are picturised well. We genuinely feel sorry for him as his attempts to escape come
undone and we are kept guessing as to what his next step is going to be. Sarita's act to make sure he doesnt escape again makes
us flinch with its brutality. The movie explodes into violence unexpectedly towards the end and the tussle between Jayaram and
Sarita is realistic and bloody. But the dance by Ramya Krishnan feels out of place and damages the movie allowing the tension to
ebb at a key point. Ilaiyaraja's background contributes a lot to raising the tension but the songs are disappointingly ordinary.
Since it is a two-character movie, the actors playing these roles are key. Both Jayaram and Sarita slip into their roles well
and the movie works mainly because neither of them are larger-than-life. Sarita especially is an inspired choice and the talented
actress digs into the meaty role with relish. Her unpredictable mood changes are realistic and the actress manages to convey
the impression of something lurking under the surface even when smiling and fawning over Jayaram. Her sudden rants shock
us as much they shock Jayaram and her calmness when threatening him is even more unsettling. Jayaram is forced to spend
most of the movie in bed or a wheelchair and it is definitely a demanding role. He manages to raise some smiles initially before
earning our sympathy with his helplessness.