Iru Dhuruvam, the latest Tamil web series to arrive on Sony LIV, starts as a gritty redemption story of a tainted cop Viktor. His wife is missing for six months and all fingers behind her mysterious disappearance point towards him. He lies to his school-going daughter that she has flown to the US.
He's off-duty for months and his reputation is at stake. Viktor needs to report to work at the earliest and he does so with reluctance. There are two undercover cops exclusively deputed to monitor his actions and to ensure a lead to his wife’s missing case. Just as Viktor returns to action, he needs to unravel the mystery behind a series of spine-chilling murders in the city. Will he find his mojo again? For starters, Iru Dhuruvam gets most aspects that are intrinsic to the crime thriller genre right.
There’s a personal story for a cop to work his a** off on the case and prove his worth again. The modus operandi of the killer and his motive have interesting layers to them. The psychopath leaves behind a video in the victim’s phone and a verse from the Thirukkural in each of the spots where he commits a murder. The antagonist’s part is constructed with intelligence. The patterns of his killings (which may not be original) are equally complex and fascinating.
There’s a young inexperienced constable by the cop’s side to ring in some heartfelt humour. The mix of the mind games, emotion, humour and crime sounds right, but their coming-together isn’t as sharp. The lead up to the whereabouts of the killer is intriguing but the series loses its fizz once his identity is revealed. The persona of the antagonist smells ‘peril’ when introduced initially, yet regional directors tend to spoonfeed everything to the viewer, almost underestimating their intelligence. They somehow find it necessary to have a sob backstory to trace an antagonist’s anti societal tendencies and this is among the weakest parts of the series. Iru Dhuruvam could have had a great interpretative quality had the makers resisted the temptation to connect the dots.
However, the director gets his act right in the backstory of Viktor where his wife goes missing. He doesn’t delve too much into the gory sequence and only conveys the fact that there’s more to her missing case than what-meets-the-eye. It is still apparent that the director’s strength isn’t about dealing with a character’s past. He is better at establishing the right ambience of the present-day sequences. The backdrop too, feels quite rooted. And there’s a juicy masala twist to the proceedings in the end as the director leaves the door open for a season two. One factor that could have given a stronger emotional basis to the story of the cop is the father-child bond. The conversations have a young girl say lines like, ‘Idha vecchi dhaana ammava correct panne?’ (Did you make mom fall for you like this?). It’s a very caricaturish relationship that lacks sensitivity. Otherwise, Nandha Durairaj seems an easy fit into the crime thriller space. He has a conniving pair of eyes that provide authenticity to his portrayal of an investigative cop and his often-underplayed demeanour works well for a character with a not-so-rosy past. He sometimes though appears too stone-faced to process any emotion. He could have brought in a sense of style and ease with his act - he’s stiff beyond necessity. Abhirami Iyer’s character as his wife is a significant one, more in terms of impact than her screen-time. Youtube star Abdool doesn’t come up with any fireworks with his comic timing but provides good fun in the lighter moments of the series. It’s a great casting idea to bring in an actor like Sebastin who’s skinny, un-villainy in his dialogue delivery and body language to essay the antagonist’s part. He does justice to the faith reposed in him and promises more for season two as well. Though Iru Dhuruvam might appear a poor man's Ratsasan, it is a good watch for the most part. It doesn’t aim too high but delivers on most of its promises. Rating: 3/5