Visaranai (English: Interrogation) is a 2015 Indian Tamil-language docudrama-crime thriller film written and directed by Vetrimaaran based on the novel Lock Up by M. Chandrakumar. Featuring Dinesh, Anandhi and Aadukalam Murugadoss in the lead roles, the film deals with police brutality, corruption, and loss of innocence in the face of injustice.
The film premiered in the Orrizonti (Horizons) section of the 72nd Venice Film Festival, where it won the Amnesty International Italia Award. The film was released in India on 5 February 2016 and received highly positive reviews from both critics and audience alike. Many issues arose regarding the film in Tamil Nadu among the police force. At the 63rd National Film Awards, the film won three honours: Best Feature Film in Tamil, Best Supporting Actor for Samuthirakani and Best Editing for Kishore Te. It was selected as India's official entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 89th Academy Awards but it was not nominated.
Pandi (Dinesh Ravi), Murugan (Aadukalam Murugadoss), Afzal (Silambarasan Rathnasamy), Kumar (Pradheesh Raj) are Tamil labourers who are working in Andhra Pradesh and living in a nearby park and working to make ends meet. A Tamil man Muthuvel is shown to be undertaking some operation in Andhra Pradesh along with a group of men. The lives of the four labourers take a turn for worse when they are caught, beaten and tortured brutally in police lock-up for a theft they did not commit, due to police's need to close a high-profile robbery case. The four resist the torture and refuse to confess, but are forced to relent due to the police brutality. However, when produced in court, they speak out the true set of events to the judge. Muthuvel (Samuthirakani), who is shown to be a Police Inspector, helps them go free by translating for them in court and vouching for them. Before the men can leave, Muthuvel enlists their help to kidnap a high-profile auditor K.K (Kishore) who has been handling the black money for an opposing political party in Tamil Nadu. The men are brought back to Tamil Nadu, and Kumar is dropped on the way to Chennai.
The remaining three men are asked by Muthuvel to clean the police station before leaving. The nature of Muthuvel's case is then revealed. The kidnapping was masterminded by the Deputy Commissioner of Police (D.C.P), under directions from the ruling political party of the state, to use K.K in court and take down the opposition party. Meanwhile, the Assistant Commissioner (A.C.P), who is on the payroll of the opposition party, convinces the D.C.P to play a double game and get 3 crores (30 million) rupees from the opposition for dropping the case. However, buying the D.C.P's bluff, the opposition party fears that K.K has given up their secrets and orders the A.C.P to interrogate him, during which he dies from the injuries sustained. A discussion ensues to figure out a way cover up the death as a suicide.
After the meeting, the D.C.P sees Pandi and Afzal in an adjoining bathroom and suspects that they might have overheard the plan. To cover up, they decide to frame Pandi and his friends as convicts in a pending A.T.M robbery case, and eliminate them under the cover of an encounter. Muthuvel, who feels responsible for the three men, is fed up with the corruption and immorality of the events that have transpired and initially refuses to cooperate, but he is coerced because of his deep involvement. During the staged encounter, Afzal is killed, causing Pandi and Murugan to runaway. In the ensuing pursuit, Murugan is shot and killed. Muthuvel chases Pandi and negotiates with him, assuring no harm and promising a spot in front of the media to expose the corruption. Meanwhile, orders arrive from the D.C.P to tie up loose ends and eliminate Muthuvel as well. As the film cuts to black, gunshots are heard, followed by a conversation that reveals the death of both Muthuvel and Pandi. A plan is made for the press coverage of Muthuvel's death 'in the line of duty', alongside photographs of his family to hold the attention and sympathy of the public.
The film was adapted from novel titled Lock up, written by M. Chandrakumar, an auto rickshaw driver in Coimbatore. Vetrimaaran chose to begin the film before the schedule for his other venture Vada Chennai (2016) and signed up actors Attakathi Dinesh and Aadukalam Murugadoss to play convicts in the film. The film earlier had the working titles of Kutravaali and Lock-Up, during the first schedule in Guindy. The first half of the film was finished completely in September 2014 in locations across Hyderabad. The director later announced that the film would be an experimental film lasting only 60 minutes. Anandhi joined the cast as heroine in October 2014, being selected after Vetrimaran was impressed with her performance in his production venture, Poriyaalan (2014) and Prabhu Solomon's Kayal (2014). Telugu film actor Ajay Ghosh stated that he played the role of an inspector in the film and would appear throughout the first half.
This film received the best movie award from tamil magazine Ananda Vikatan in Ananda Vikatan Cinema Awards 2016. The film received a 7.6 out of 10 average score from critics according to the Indian film review aggregator website The Review Monk. IndiaGlitz.com had rated the film 4.5 out of 5 and said, "Visaranai is by no means only an art or docu film, but fits into the commercial arena as well as it has thrills, especially a nail biting climax, humour, action, a little painful love story in the background and above all filled with real life incidents which one can easily relate to". Twitch Film viewed Visarnai as a top class film about reality comparable to 2012 Cannes favourite Gangs of Wasseypur. The Hindu wrote "Visaranai is beautifully filmed, though there isn't much room for beauty. The frames appear to have been snatched from the back alleys of life. The verité illusion is aided by the utterly lifelike performances—even if the word "performance" seems wrong.". Rediff wrote "Director Vetrimaaran deserves credit for having extracted the best from all his actors. They are so remarkable you sense their terror as they stutter and stumble with their broken and bruised bodies. The hard-hitting screenplay is relentless, making no effort to shield you from the harsh realities of the ruthless world we live in today." Behindwoods wrote "Some may call Visaranai to be a violent film, while most of the others may say it is a brilliant piece of art that is so real and suspenseful. But if you’re a fan of crime thriller or film that depicts pain, do not miss it!"