It was last month during Pongal that I had watched and reviewed two major Pongal releases in the form of Varisu and Waltair Veerayya. And today, one of the Pongal releases which I had missed out on during its theatrical run is out on Netflix. With that I finished watching the new Tamil film Thunivu starring Thala Ajith. Each time there is a mass masala entertainer, I have to put this message across that I do enjoy my share of action entertainers. Probably they are done well and are able to entertain, I do not have any issues with it. But off late, barring Pathaan, none of the mass masala entertainers have impressed me. To give them a fair chance, I had kept my mind aside, not wanting to analyze the film much, before venturing into them. Despite that, if the bare minimum requirement of the films was not met then I had to grill the film.
Much has already been said about the Thala Ajith film Thunivu. It did meet with a mixed reaction from the critics while the hardcore fans of Ajith Kumar lapped up the film. This did seem to be a familiar story considering that both Varisu and Waltair Veerayya had met with a similar fate. One redemption was that a bunch of people were calling this outing, a shade better than Ajith’s previous outing Valimai, a film that I had quite liked(maybe it is just me). So as always with hope and fear, I did venture into Thunivu. Does it manage to impress, lets find out.
Story & Screenplay
Thunivu follows the story of a bank robbery underway carried out by a criminal mastermind whose identity is under wraps. What is his motive? The story here is wafer thin but the good news is that it does have some structure to it and touches upon some relevant social issues. The screenplay standing at about a 140 minutes is extremely fast paced and doesn’t allow you time to breathe. Additionally, it keeps providing you timely information, completely relying on the audience to absorb it and keep pace with it. I absolutely did not mind this screenplay whose core objective was to entertain. And it definitely did!
The drama picks up pace from the very first scene wherein a bunch of gang members are planning to loot a local bank. The next day while the action is on, a saviour emerges who in a twist of events turns out to be a criminal mastermind who is at the bank to loot the money himself. I did like how the character shade of the protagonist was grey although he did wear a white shirt(as opposed to other gang members wearing black outfits). A little metaphor there? Yes, perhaps! And while I did true to put the analyzer within me to bed, I started enjoying the proceedings. It was almost like a guilty pleasure watching multiple character spraying bullets for fun! Again very far fetched but thoroughly enjoyable and entertaining(no I am not a violent person!).
The proceedings are fast paced and definitely does keep you on your toes. The theme here partially reminded me of the Hollywood flick Dog Day Afternoon which also did have a hostage situation. Except here, the situation was on steroids! There were pieces of information consistently being passed on to the viewers almost in the form of a jigsaw puzzle. So the picture was never really clear as to who the protagonist is and what is his motive. Another smart aspect of the screenplay was that it doesn’t allow the viewers to get restless when some answers aren’t provided right away. Instead, the fast paced screenplay does ensure that not a single dull moment is spent which would allow the viewers to be distracted. Yes, a shortcoming could be that there was no effort made at generating the emotions but the mad-hat action sequences worked wonderfully for me.
The twists and turns in the screenplay take place almost in the form of the drama oscillating between timelines. The frequent flashbacks(or even flashbacks between scenes minutes apart) do slowly pave way for a social issue which is addressed in its third act. The tone oscillates between sly comedy and action sequences but the transition wasn’t too bumpy. I still did feel that the impact of the drama would have been better had the character of the protagonist retained some of the greyness that was prevalent in his character. That said, the social commentary was a good one. The final act here despite being entertaining, gave me an impression that the writers were trying just too hard. It was slightly overdone and it felt like a videogame with multiple loopholes. But taking nothing away from the screenplay which was fast-paced, entertaining and thoroughly enjoyable! It is popcorn entertainment at its very best!
Dialogues, Music & Direction
The dialogues are massy and almost playful and they make for a good impact. I could totally imagine the theatre erupting at a few junctures. The music is decent but none of the songs are long enough to stall the flow of the drama. The BGM is pulsating and elevates the drama at many places. The cinematography is does leave you on a high too. The editing could have been better with a lesser use of multiple jump cuts. Director H Vinoth does manage to impress here, playing to the strengths of his protagonist and delivering an action entertainer that does exactly that – entertain!
The performances are pretty good here although all characters lack depth. If you are willing to put this bit aside, the performances in between combat sequences would be enjoyable. John Kokken as Krish is first rate and does a terrific job. Ajay and GM Sundar have their moments to shine. Samuthirakani as Dhayalan is earnest and sincere. Manju Warrier as Kanmani has little to do besides go ballistic in certain portions but her combat sequences were enjoyable. Ajith Kumar as Dark Devil is clearly having a ball here. He was literally enjoying himself and that did translate well onscreen as well. The star persona was always there and his performance was quite enjoyable.
Thunivu is a popcorn entertainer on steroids, an action drama that is thoroughly enjoyable if you are willing to put aside the logic by not analyzing it much. Available on Netflix.