It is very difficult to love violence. There are no facets to it. It is merciless. It is inexorable. It is incessant.
But in Ghrashana, violence (of the establishment kind) is almost romanticized and glamorized and somewhere through the film you wish you had a gun in your hand to pump bullets around. Then again, you also start thinking that the police force is not such a bad place to be in.
And therein lies the effectiveness of Venkatesh's acting and Gowtham Menon's gritty direction. Gharshana, at one level, is an inspired tribute to the men in khaki, who have to make personal sacrifices and go beyond the call of duty much more than rest of us have to in our chosen avocations.
The film is all about DCP Rama Chandra (Venkatesh) and his one-pointed mission to do away with gangsters. He is no copybook policeman. He reaches for the trigger rather than the law. He is Dirty Harry meets Terminator meets Daya Naik.
Like all policemen, he is lonely and goes about his job with the relentless ferocity of a mountain cat. He has a band of dedicated cop friends who also share his enthusiasm and devil-may-care approach.
As it happens, he meets an equally determined criminal Panda (Saleem Baig). Panda wants to avenge the killing of his loving brother Das --- a gangster who fell victim to Rama Chandra's ceaseless bullets.
Rama Chandra, in the meanwhile, falls to the charm of Maya (Asin), a school teacher. Rama Chandra, even though he does not want to complicate his uncluttered life, ties the knot with her.
Now he is no longer single.
And that is what Panda wants.
He vows that Rama Chandra will be left with no one at the end and goes on a killing spree.
Finally, Rama Chandra does manage to nail him. But by then much bullet and blood is been wasted.
Despite much gore and violence, Gharshana's biggest plus is its underlying optimism which enforces the idea that the much-maligned police force is not all that bad.
Venkatesh as the no-nonsense cop is composed and casual, getting the nuance of the encounter specialist perfectly right. His efforts at getting ship-shape for the role seem to have paid the expected dividends. He oozes steely machismo as the cop and at the same time shows simple vulnerability as the hubby of Maya. Asin, as the cute, lovey-dovey teacher, has got a director-backed role. She shines and establishes firmly her uncomplicated acting style. Still, the chemistry between the lead pair could have been better.
Newcomer Saleem Baig, despite a poor voice (dubbed), as the cold-blooded, revenge-seeking Panda is first rate. He never misses a trick in the book and triumphs in this significant role for him.
The film's gloss and glamour stem from the stylized camera work of Rajasekhar and the trendy music of Harris Jeyaraj. They have infused Gharshana with an extra dimension ---the songs are already chart busters. Yana Gupta's item song has been pictured tastefully.
In terms of story line, Gharshana is almost one-dimensional --- a honest cop out to capture an evil villain. But the film redeems itself due to the technical excellence and masterful craft of Gowtham. In that, he has married the best of Ram Gopal Varma and Manirathnam (urban finesse, short, crisp and natural dialogues and getting the best out of his music director).
The young director sure knows how to make a trendy film with all the right ingredients. He sticks to the neat and straight path --- using the flash-cut technique only to heighten the suspense and tension.
The best thing about Gharshana is that the director never shows the inclination to fall for the commerci