Coming after the new generation hotchpotch 'Honeybee', director Lal Jr was never expected to take a totally risky, but different route in his next movie curiously titled 'Hi, I am Tony'. An intended psychological thriller, 'Hi I m Tony', works at some points, but fails to impress you as a film, mostly due to the predictable nature of some of its characters.
The movie has Lal as the title character Tony who intrudes into the super luxury 'model flat' of a builder where the just-married Bangalore couple Sameer (Asif Ali) and Tina (Miya), have started their living, the same day. This is one flat offered to them by Sameer's Achayan (Biju Menon), who wants him to use to it to woo customers who visits the place, and to make them buy another in the same building. As the young couple is planning to start their romantic night, in comes Tony, whose vehicle has hit theirs a few hours ago. Tony is there to ask for pardon and convince them to invite him in - an invitation that is going to change their life into misery and trauma for some more time.
With ninety percent of the movie set in the interiors of the flat, and with just six characters in the fray, its is really difficult to hold the interest in the movie for more than the initial half an hour. Left with three major characters who interviews, chats and fights it out to clarify their mind settings, this turns pure experimental stuff that may get applauds only from the die hard fans of the genre. Flourished with plenty of blood and complex behaviours, the dark mood flick works much for the performance by its lead players and fine technical sides.
Hi I'm Tony' has Lal in another fine role, which he tries to fine tune with his muffled voice and new looks. But we may also note that though he has tried his best, looking lethal and unpredictable, it is the same credentials attached with his typical nature that goes against the effectiveness of the movie. Had it been handled with a lesser actor who doesn’t look dangerous from the very start and one who could change gear in a more confusing way, the movie could have worked best. The sound track that appear a little jaded with some dialogues not clearly audible unless experienced in complete silence is also a let-down for the movie. (where the viewers new to the genre is hardly showing any mercy to the narratives, continuously making unwanted booing and noise). Add to that the thirty minute long confrontation and torture in the later half, which seems unending and illogical at some points, the movie cannot be listed in the best of the thrillers that came out in the recent times.
Asif Ali, has but played his part to perfection with some subtle moves and better dubbing than many of his recent movies. Miya also appear fine as the nursing student Tina, both complementing well in hours of distress and helplessness. But the movie is crafted really well with enough visual cues for the genre that is presented. The camera by Alby capture the fine perspectives of the plot, built tension and compose the best of the images of turbulent hours in the interiors of the posh flat. The background scores are not loud and the artwork by Prashant Madhav is glitzy and fine.
In the final analysis, the director Jean Paul Lal, excels in his directorial side in creating a technically-brilliant movie. But the writing side appear forced and many a sequences are not natural. Adding to the shortcomings, the movie could have definitely been trimmed by about 15 to 20 minutes.
'Hi I m Tony' is definitely not that everyone’s stuff. Only prescribed for those who carefully look forward for psychological thrillers.
Rating - 5.5/10