Dec 19 2011
Traffic is an ensemble film with multiple storylines that come together in unexpected ways. We’ve had films like Sarvam and more recently, Vaanam, that did the same thing but with strong characters given equal importance, unexpected interactions between them and good surprises and suspense, Traffic is a much more accomplished entry in the genre.
The main players in the story are a leading actor(Rahman), a doctor(Kunchako Boban) who has purchased a car to surprise his wife on their first wedding anniversary, a young man(Vineeth Srinivasan) who has just landed his dream job of a reporter for a cable channel and a police constable(Srinivasan) who has just rejoined the force after a suspension. As a woman driver is harassed by some guys on bikes, she causes an accident whose repercussions are felt by all of them.
Films with multiple story lines usually follow different individuals going about their lives before their lives intersect at some point. Traffic, on the other hand, starts off with the incident that brings its characters together. Though we know a few things about the key individuals and learn a few more things via flashbacks, the film is about how they impact one another’s lives after fate brings them together in unanticipated ways.
Having the accident happen in the beginning allows the film to have a main hook that is suspense-laden because it is both emotional and time-bound. Apparently derived from a real-life happening in Chennai, a car journey is the heart of the film(no pun intended!). So we see the people as they affect this journey. Sometimes they threaten to derail it and sometimes they help push it forward and these happen via some nice – even if not always pleasant – surprises and clever plot points.
All the characters play important parts in the journey even if the reasons they become involved in it are very different. And as they play their part, they take small but important journeys of their own to learn something about themselves and the others around them. In one case its a father’s redemption in the eyes of his daughter. In another, its a man recognizing just what is important in life. And in yet another case, its a man coming to terms with a betrayal. All these are brought in subtly but cleverly as their fates become inextricably linked.
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