The film begins with Madras Central Prison and we see a new prisoner No-4005 named Krishnaswamy. Cut to flashback where he is B Sc Agriculture widower left with two kids living happily in his small village life. With insistence of a city dwelled rich man and dreaming his kids’ better education he landed up to city. His innocence and trust soon duped by the man and his touts. For uncommitted financial fraud he was thrown in jail where he becomes victim of torture and atrocity. Out of jail he found his son in company of road show juggler and his beloved daughter selling her body in Calcutta’s Sonagachi brothel.
While reading it seems like a typical movie, but fortunately it isn’t. The reason is fine direction and restrained execution by Santhana Bharathi and fine screenplay penned and acted by the multi-talented genius Kamal Haasan. This is another fine director-actor combination who gave another fine Tamil film called ‘Guna’. Though quite melodramatic in the middle part, the film finely represent the theme of city Vs village, OPM (other people’s money) Vs OPM (own personal money) and a heart wrenching story of a disillusioned upright family man who realized that ‘Satyamev Jayate’ won’t prevail in real life.
One has to watch the expressions of the common man’s helplessness and situational flux when he witnessed his young daughter in brothel and from what drama he took her back. There are certain scenes where Kamal made you realize that how naturally he enacted all those myriad emotions of God fearing village simpleton, devoted and caring family man, struggling father ultimately turned into a boiling volcano of revenge. No wonder why this living legend that beat all clichés of cinemas has deservingly won maximum number of National Awards in his career more than Amitabh Bachchan and Mammooty and record nineteen times Filmfare Awards in five languages, infact around the end of 2000 he wrote plea to the organization to exempt him from further awards. Undoubtedly he’s not just an actor; but actor in millions and absolutely a national treasure.
The film bagged National Award for Best Feature Film in Tamil.