After having worked with Venkat Prabhu in all his films, Ranjith strikes out independently with Attakathy. The film tracks the happenings in the life of Deena, a youngster from a lower economic strata. With no focus in life, and whiling away his time with like-minded friends, Deena falls in and out of love with ease.
Nicknamed ‘Atte’, he's a cardboard hero with fake bravado. There is no conventional storyline here. But it’s the refreshing treatment and inherent humour in the script, the characterisation of the protagonist and, more importantly, the performance of Dinesh as the lead, that raises it above the routine fare.
A trained theatre actor who has played cameos in a few films like Aadukalam, Dinesh's is one of the best debuts one has seen in recent times. Deena is no conventional hero. He doesn’t get to sing duets or do stunts and fights. In fact, he chickens out and runs away when cornered. Dinesh essays Deena with perfect understanding, as the character evolves from diffidence to aggression as he enters college.
Throughout Deena’s journey, one constant factor is bus travel. Travelling on footboards, trying to attract the attention of girls, waiting at bus stops for a particular bus to arrive, falling in and out of love in buses — rejection in no way slowing down his enthusiasm, are all a part of Deena’s routine. It’s a scenario we have seen earlier, but it’s Dinesh’s take on it that makes it watchable.
The narration has a realistic feel, like one is witnessing a slice of life. There are a handful of girls who cross Deena's life, and it’s a bit confusing placing them. But clarity is restored when Poornima — his first crush in school ( the comely Nanditha from the Kannada screen), re-enters his life. One can feel the influence of his mentor in the director's plotting and style.
The family bonding despite the poverty is brought out well. Velu and Meenakshi as Deena's parents are complete naturals, their scenes of interaction adding to the humour quotient. Enhancing the mood and flavour are the rustic songs (Santosh Narayanan), well integrated in the narration. The pace though does lose momentum at times. While one twist towards the end seems forced in, the finale is a practical, realistic one. A charming, delightful take on the lives and foibles of youths from the lower middle class, it’s a film the younger generation will relate to.