Debutante director G N Krishnakumar's 'College Days' is a movie that impresses you with a fresh recipe of presentations. An investigative thriller in its real sense, the makers had succeeded in maintaining the suspense element, all through without letting it go of even for a moment.
The movie opens with the sequences of first year medico Athira (Bhama) pushed to death by a notorious gang of five, lead by the son of State minister. But with the influential system and wrong testification of the college principal played by Jagathy, the wicked gang (consisting of Sandhya, Sajith Kumar, Dhanya Mary, Rain and Govind Padmasuriya) is let free and is allowed to continue with their studies.
After the titles, the movie moves on to another fresher year with the same gang continuing with their menacing activities. In arrives Rohit Menon (indrajith) from Banglore, to do house surgeoncy in the same college, who enters into tussle with the group from the day one. The baddies now plots many plans to corner him and get him evacuated from the college but each of them misfires and now they are into one big plot that is sure to kick him out. But this time, something goes haywire and Rohit is killed. The gang somehow buries him in the hostel premises, but the Commissioner Sudeep Hariharan (Biju Menon) who is after the case is more than intimidating for them to handle.
The highlight of the movie is the competitive performance from the entire cast, of which some are relatively freshers. The little expectations on the movie also helped in favour of it tremendously. The debutante director expertly calls the proceedings and even manages to elevate the many could-have- been- dull scenes with needed energy. Though somewhere 'College Days' reminds us of many mass murder mysteries of the past, its simple dialogues, music, visuals and other technical departments helps the movie to stay afloat. The director shows plenty of promise and we are sure he will be in the helm of busy affairs within a short while.
The drawback of the movie is its length at 160 minutes, with plenty of heavy scenes which may limit the family audiences. M S Aji's storytelling leaves a lot to be desired with some loose ends as the story stagnates in the latter reels. Condensing the plot into a two hours could not have diluted the impact of the film which carries strong messages against ragging.
In the acting side, Indrajith stands out with a handsome, credible performance and may become one of his best in recent times. Biju Menon also does the role of commissioner effectively .The rest of the cast including the five youngsters are notable while Bhama appears in a small, but good cameo.
The technical side is worth mentioning with Sujith Vasudev in complete control of his camera department while Babu Retnam also does well with his cuts. The art and costume departments also gel with the proceedings of the campus based flick. Rony Raphel makes an impressive debut in the music department. 'Vennilavin' is the pick among his three songs while his BG scores are also inviting enough for a suspense thriller.
Final word? 'College Days' is a well executed film, from a more than average scripts, with the ensemble cast pitching in competent performances. Of course, the film needs to storm the star equations of pre Christmas period to go for an extended run. And if the word of mouth spreads positively, then 'College Days' may end up as a decent grosser from the present slow start.