Friday, 14 December 2018

Thuppakki Munai: Half begun, well done!

The intensity of drama in the story of a film has to undergo a proper transition from writing to making. When the storyline is very simple, the film-language has to catalyse this transition with an amalgamation of some serious emotions. And when they achieve it, such movies engage the audience well.

Already we had Asuravadham earlier this year that was making it happen and now, Vikram Prabhu’s Thuppakki Munai is one such movie that has this potential.


It all starts with character establishment of encounter-specialist Birla Bose (Vikram Prabhu) who himself narrates the prologue of the story. From this very point, writer Dinesh Selvaraj leaves a lot of loose ends that are self-explanatory. This actually makes the experience of watching this movie so interesting.

Birla says he has, so far, killed 33 criminals in encounter missions. But, when the prologue sequences pass by, we have a dialogue “Ithuvara 32 encounter pannirukinga”, addressed to him. So, the audience is figuratively told that there is one more encounter left where the prologue is going to be done and there is a whole lot of movie left. In no time we are shown how and why the 33rd encounter is carried out by Birla.

It was so nice to see Vikram Prabhu in a role with so much aggression and emotional quotient. The character of Birla speaks less. He has a lot of secrets and unrevealed feelings. He is very much obsessed with self-honesty which he tells is the quality of a man that is most important but could not be possessed easily. So, in order to have all of them, Vikram has brought out his best to keep Birla in his fullest form.

Hansika’s role, too, was a significant one. For a narration happening just for a couple of hours and having her role that is far from the geography of the main story’s premise, Dinesh has added enough prominence to her role. The way he introduces her through a dialogue in the prologue is utilised promptly in the other half of the film.

In fact, the narrative fashion of Thuppakki Munai is filled with many such moments. There would have been a dialogue or a scene in an earlier part of the screenplay, which would seem irrelevant at that point of time, but becomes a game-changer later when Birla needs to save the day.
There are flaws and glitches in the story-telling of Thuppakki Munai. But, what has to be admitted is that the performances of artistes and the substance of the plot-points make these shortcomings fade away.

The movie takes the path of parallel narration in the second half where one of them happens in Rameswaram and the other, in Chennai. Without a hero or heroine, M S Bhaskar carries the Chennai portion single-handedly and with his own style of seasoned acting. Especially when he addresses the press in the climax, three aspects reflect from it –  his emotions, the story’s takeaway and a ray of sensibility being preached for those who take to killing very easily.

What supports this is the colour tone they have set to enhance the mood of the film. The entire movie is visually filtered with a pale-yellow tone which gives us, the audience, a feel of hunt, survival and arrogance. Along with this colour tone, cinematographer Rasamathi has also captured multiple emotions in a single frame. Say, in one scene, when Birla bose travels as a pillion rider, he shows a cool attitude, while the one who drives is in the peak of anger. Such frames were riveting to watch.

Thuppakki Munai would have turned out to be filmmaker Hari-isque movie, as the screenplay has every potential for becoming just as engaging. But, Dinesh’s idea of bringing out something unique with his own film language’s treatment puts this 127-minute drama in a different league and is still engaging like Hari's screenplay.

- Santhosh Mathevan,
Chennai, December 13, 2018.

A part or complete version of this review by Santhosh Mathevan has appeared in newstodaynet.com. This viewer's note is completely based on the perceptions of Santhosh Mathevan alone. This does not reflect the views of two or more people or a community. Queries and criticism shall be addressed to the writer only.