It is still a Wednesday but the new releases have started pouring in. And with that I finished watching the new Tamil film Cobra frwshly streaming on SonyLiv. And this was a film that I would have watched in a theatre but due to a personal exigency(a corporate term hahaha), I was unable to do so. The film had a lot going for it right from the beginning. Firstly the stellar cast which also marked the debut of cricketer turned actor Irfan Pathan and I really wished to see how ge did go about things. Also, its trailer did seem promising where another mass masala entertainer did seemed to be nailed after Vikram. Now that Cobra is out and I have finished watching it, here are my two cents on the film.
Story & Screenplay
Cobra follows the story of a mathematician who commits crimes using mathematics. This concept was a winner right up as it did promise an exciting and cerebral approach to a normal mass masala entertainer template. But it is the screenplay which is a mixed bag here. Standing at over 3 hours, it was a daunting task straight up wherein I was almost certain that there will be lags in the screenplay. I was right as well where the curse of the second half did set in.
The drama opens in spectacular fashion where a string on unrelated crimes set the ball rolling for things to follow. Soon you are introduced to the protagonist in dramatic style wherein he is shown to commit some of the most cerebral crimes using numbers. I am a numbers person and I quite enjoyed the amalgamation of numbers which are intelligently(although very far fetched) used in the narrative.
The proceedings are fast paced and move at a break neck pace. They are interesting and engrossing right throughout the first half. There are multiple sequences including the elaborate Russia sequence which will have you glued to your screens. In between, the romantic subplot does slow down things although it is definitely watchable.
The issue begins in the second hour which follows an interesting twist at the halfway mark. The narrative from this point lacks clarity and it just seems a little messy(more to do with the execution which I will get to in my next section). There are moments of lag right throughout the second half. The entire flashback just does not ooze of any confidence and instead it dumbs down the interesting premise. Even some of the action sequences are not able to match up to the intensity of the first hour. As a matter of fact, I was distracted throughout the second half which can best be termed as above average or just about watchable.
The final act where all the subplots start to converge just doesn’t give you that sort of a high which was such a shame. The use of numbers which started with a bang just starts declining with every scene where the entire second hour along with the final act just follows a standard trope of a mass masala template. Even the reason provided at the end was amateurish and in no way did justify the events of the film. So overall, the screenplay was terrific in the first half but messy and plain vanilla in the second half.
Dialogues, Music & Direction
The dialogues are massy but just about alright. The music by AR Rahman is excellent although the placement of songs could have been better. In a 3 hour film, they definitely stall the flow of the drama. The BGM is pretty good as well and blends well with the drama. The VFX could have been better but the cinematography is pretty good. The editing is choppy particularly in the second hour. Director R Ajay Gnanamuthu does a good job in the first half but stumbles very badly in the second hour. His execution is found wanting and badly towards the end making it a forgettable affair for him.
The performances are decent here. Mrinalini Ravi as Jennifer and Sarjano Khalid as Mathi shine in their respective roles. Miya George and Kaniha are first rate. Srinidhi Shetty fresh of the success of KGF 2 is decent as Bhavana although her character lacks depth and she is reduced only as a romantic interest in the film. Irfan Pathan as Aslan does a decent job here in a slightly underwritten role(why was he absent in the climax?). He does have a good presence and if he wishes to pursue acting, he will only get better from here. One of my favourites Roshan Mathew is brilliant as Rishi. His eccentricity is on full display here adding another dimension to his acting armoury. Chiyaan Vikram is phenomenal here. His character had a lot of depth which he does portray brilliantly. One complaint though that I had was that he needs to be smarter in selecting his scripts which often let him down and don’t do justice to the overall product. Hope PS 1 will change things this weekend!
Cobra is another classic case of a good concept marred by a messy execution. Available on SonyLiv.