Fixing any basic narrative into a short runtime is a difficult task. After watching Danny, one cannot help but wonder if the debut director missed a trick with the storytelling.
Danny has a very ordinary script. It is nothing we have not already seen in films of a different period. If the late Rama Narayanan turned elephants (and even snakes) into crime-solving detectives, Santhanamoorthy employs a sniffer dog.
- Director: LC Santhanamoorthy
- Cast: Varalaxmi Sarathkumar, Anitha Sampath, Vinoth Kishan, Vela Ramamoorthy
- Story line: With the help of a sniffer dog, a policewoman leads the serach for a trio of drug addicts who rape and murder women.
Kundhavai (Varalaxmi Sarathkumar) is a police inspector who assumes charge of a police station in Thanjavur after a woman’s body is found burnt to death. The entire world (read as: oor makkal and news media) casts suspicion on the husband, and he is arrested. But Kundhavai believes there is more to the story and follows other leads.
On the parallel, we see Danny (the cutest floof) nab suspects and basically being scent master supreme! Danny is brought in to help with the murder investigation. Kundhavai goes off on a tangent chasing the suspects, but tragedy hits home and this sets her on a collision course with the men responsible for the murders. Cue the climax.
Here is where Danny falters. It loses focus of its core plot. In its eagerness to deliver a ‘commercial’ film, Santhanamoorthy adds scenes that instead of propelling the narrative forward, snuffs the juice out of its wafer-thin plot.
Danny could have been a police procedural in the mould of V1. It could have been a ‘mass’ vehicle for Varalaxmi — the actor has a ‘farmer introduction’, is reasonably stone faced when she puts on the cop outfit (why weren’t there any chase or fight sequences?), and could have pulled off a few ‘whistle-worthy’ dialogues.
Danny could have been more about Danny too! The poor dog is only used to sniff things; the labrador pup has no character arc. There is another police dog named ‘Manda Kasayam’ (a German Shepherd we hardly see). Probably, Danny could have been a clash of egos between a Labrador and the German Shepherd before they join paws towards the climax to nab the evil villain (or did I just type out the plot of Naerukku Naer?).
Unfortunately, Danny is none of this. It loses track due to inclusion of mindless comedy sequences that are unfunny, and only takes away the time that could have instead been used to spin a more gripping narrative. Relatability, too, goes for a toss. It is hard to feel invested with Kundhavai’s cause, to marvel at Danny’s awesomeness or the villainy of its suspects.
If not for its below-average screenplay, Danny’s plot could have been tinkered to give us a racy, edge-of-the-seat thriller, but it is now nothing but a missed opportunity for the filmmaker.
Danny is currently streaming on Zee5