Cast: Shaam Ibrahim, Poonam Kaur, Nagineedu, Anil Murali, Narayan
Director: VZ Dhorai
Rating: 2 out of 5
Shaam's '6 Candles' is an over-the-top version of Liam Neeson's 'Taken' that seldom takes itself seriously throughout the film. A story of a missing child that gets linked to a multi-million dollar child trafficking business, '6 Candles' has moments of brilliance, but it does not quite capitalise on that enough.
Despite the effort put in by Shaam, who gained and lost weight for his role in the film, all that we get to see is a promising story sabotaged by convoluted screenplay.
When a six-year-old boy (Gautham) goes missing on his sixth birthday while walking alongside his mother (Lizzy) on a beach, his doting father (Ram) sets out to find him at all costs. What begins as a missing child case with a police investigation soon turns out to be part of a kidnapping racket.
Ram joins hands with a call-taxi driver and starts searching for his son with clues given by a rag-picker in Chennai. Each clue points at someone bigger, stronger and more influential in the chain of hierarchy of the trafficking business.
Ram travels to Andhra Pradesh, Kolkata, Mumbai, Goa and several other places, following leads given by different people he meets along the way.
But will he see his son again? That is the crux of the film.
'6 Candles' could have been a brilliant investigative thriller or a high-octane action flick a la 'Taken', but it only turns out overtly melodramatic and dreary.
It is initially driven by the panic of the parents, after realising that their son has gone missing. Twenty minutes into the film, however, almost every character associated with the child is crying out loud.
There are also instances when you see a spark of brilliance in the film, especially in scenes where Shaam tries to become Sherlock Holmes. Unfortunately, that is limited to a couple of scenes, and then he is back to crying.
There is some action too, a relief from the melodrama, but that oo is limited to a scene or two.
Indian audiences like being emotionally hijacked, and that is what most of our films do. But then, drama in a film is most appreciated when it makes audiences cry; in '6 Candles', it's characters that do the crying.
Shaam tried to pull off a one-man show, but he puts audiences in misery in the process. He has worked extremely hard and there's absolutely no doubt about it, but he takes audiences for granted, and thus earns their wrath.
At a time when the entire industry safely bets on comedy, '6 Candles' tries to break that mould with high emotion. But watching the film, one wishes that at least one character was intelligent enough to stop crying and think with a straight head.
I think audiences by now do not really need to be told what happens to a child who gets kidnapped, many of them end up begging on streets, or are pushed into prostitution. Showing what happens to kidnapped children was perhaps not necessary at all, and it might have helped make the narrative a powerful thriller, instead.
What is worse, '6 Candles' has a lousy musical score that slows down the pace of the narrative. For a film of this genre, a background score that accentuated the tension might have been ideal, but composer Srikanth Deva fails.
I feel sorry for Shaam whose effort seems to have gone down the drain.