Agent Kannayiram is the Tamil remake of Navin Polishetty’s superhit Telugu comedy thriller Agent Sai Srinivasa Athreya. The movie stars Santhanam, one of the best comedians in the Tamil industry, who has transitioned into a lead hero. I was instantly curious to see how he was going to elevate an already flawless story.
Agent Kannayiram surprised me, but not as pleasantly as I had imagined it to be.
The story revolves around Kannayiram, who is born out of wedlock. He grows up to be a rookie detective, solving small-time crimes in the neighbourhood. Kannayiram is haunted by traumatic memories of a troubled relationship with his mother. He soon gets embroiled in a big case that has a connection to his late mother.
The film delves into crimes that are committed by exploiting people’s faiths, beliefs and superstitions.
The Tamil remake is a polished version of the original. A lot of effort has gone into cinematography, which is commendable.
Secondly, contrary to the expectation that Santhanam’s performance will be cloaked in humour, he scores better as an actor than as a comedian. He navigates an emotionally heavy role with sincerity. The film lets us look at a different and new shade of Santhanam.
Thirdly, it is music composer Yuvan Shankar Raja’s interesting background score that keeps us engaged. That's all I can possibly say about the positives. Now, let me list out all that didn’t work for me.
The Telugu original was a hit because it was a unique marriage of comedy and thriller. Navin Polishetty's brilliant comic timing elevated the script.
However, Agent Kannayiram, despite starring some of the quirkiest comedians like Pugazh, Munishkanth and Redin Kingsley, doesn't quite succeed when it comes to upholding the humour.
Except for a few one-liners, most of the jokes fall flat. Also, with lack of an engaging screenplay, the execution doesn’t seem to be up to the mark.
The hastily put-together sequences are incoherent. Riya Suman plays the female lead, a documentary filmmaker. While it is heartening to see that the heroine is not merely a love interest, it crumbles when you are fed with poor lip-sync. Often we just hear the dubbing artiste’s voice with the camera conveniently cutting to reaction shots, without the heroine in frame. Seasoned actor Guru Somasundaram performs adequately despite having limited screen time.
Agent Kannayiram should have been a great remake for all the promises it made. However, it doesn't quite deliver what it promised.
The film is running in cinemas now.