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Movie Review: Whistle (2003) Back to Movie
Rate movie A movie review by Balaji Balasubramaniam
Fans Rating: 80%%80%% 80% (5 votes)
Movie Still Finally... a college campus movie that is not just about an inane romance and the rowdy acts of the boys and girls both in and out of college. Whistle, inspite of the playful and completely unsuitable title, introduces Tamil cinema to the genre of the teenage/college slasher movie. While the fact that a new genre has been attempted and also handled quite competently is admirable, the realisation that the movie is a faithful remake of the Hollywood flick Urban Legend takes much of the shine away.

Jeeva(Vikramaditya) is the editor of the college magazine. Both Anjali(Gayatri Raghuram) and Maya(Sherin) have feelings for him though Jeeva seems to be leaning towards the former. One of their professors(Livingston) is an expert on Naaga, the spirit of a woman who was killed several centuries back. She has quite a close link to the college since the temple built in her name was demolished to make way of the college. When some students of the college begin vanishing mysteriously, their disappearance is attributed to Naaga.

I was so fed up of movies set in college campuses treading the same path that I was overjoyed to find a movie that dealt with a different theme. Romance and comedy, usually the mainstays of those movies, are just subplots here as the movie declares itself to be a murder mystery right from the first sequence. And it eventually satisfies all the criteria of a good murder mystery quite well. It has good suspense, some well handled murder and chase scenes, enough suspects, a few believable red herrings and doesn't disappoint when the identity of the killer is revealed.

The movie has some effective scenes but unfortunately, all of these are sequences copied from the original. The first scene with the girl in the van and the sequence where Gayatri Raghuram doesn't realise her roommate is being killed are two such scenes. While never scary or gory, the scenes do manage to get the adrenaline flowing. The same skill is not evident in sequences that are original. The flashback explaining Nagamma's life is different but not particularly engrossing. The other flashback is the usual prank-gone-wrong incident though it provides the only link to the title since it happens on something called 'whistle day'!

Unlike Julie Ganapathy, which was also a remake of a Hollywood thriller(though both the source and the copy were far superior), the director duo here does not stick to the main story and makes several detours in the form of comedy and songs. This hurts both ways since it allows the tension to ebb on the serial killer track while it makes the comedy less funny since we view it as essentially an intrusion on a serious story. The Hollywood movie What Women Want serves as the inspiration for Vivek's comedy track here as he starts of becoming privy to women's private thoughts before branching out in unexpected ways. But the comedy is never as funny as the topic suggests.

Vikramaditya has little to do other than dance and indulge in a fight at the end. Both heroines have meaty roles and perform well. Livingston is not particularly creepy as the professor who has his own agenda while Rajkapoor has a couple of chances to be creepy. Songs are mostly catchy with the title song and Azhagiya Asura... being the best.

Rate movie A movie review by Balaji Balasubramaniam