Twinkle, twinkle, little star, how I wonder Vijay became a superstar?The much anticipated scene from Theri’s trailer where Vijay is shown singing the ‘twinkle twinkle’ poem to some goons and couple of other scenes where the supernatural abilities of the hero has been put in ‘subtly’ with laborious effort are the only relief spaces in this so-called mass entertainer.
The movie might be the millionth remake version from the lineage of Rajnikanth’s mass movie ‘Basha’ where the hero is a dare devil with a larger-than-life persona in the past who then lives a ordinary life restraining from his extraordinary self, thanks to a revenge story. Director Atlees ‘Theri’, celebrated this grandfather’s tale with a Vijay show as an added attraction. Even the mass-impact signature scenes invited a yawn which was yet again nothing more than a stylized way of throwing chewing gum into the mouth.
In the film, Vijay enacts the role of Joseph Kuruvilla, a baker who lives a peaceful life in Kerala with his daughter Nivi (Nainika) without the slightest of interest in involving in any trouble , and even goes to the extent of saying ‘sorry’ for others’ mistake. When Nivi’s school teacher ‘Anni’ (Amie Jackson) start getting interested in Joseph for no particular reason and follows him, the epic past of Joseph is revealed, who was once the terrifying Deputy Commissioner of Chennai, named Vijayakumar. Solving a rape case all by himself is when Vijayakumar has to faceoff with the devil politician played by the good old director of Tamil cinema Mahendran.
The rest of the story is predictable to an extent where viewers can foresee what happens next even before the director visualises it. Vijay’s limitations as an actor is exposed when the director hands him melodramatic scenes like the one where police officer Vijayakumar weeps on hearing the brutal rape story and then his sequences with Samantha as an idol husband. Vijay looked exhausted with his few available expressions while acting these scenes that demanded clearly more variations from the actor. Nainika, daughter of south Indian actress Meena, looked charming and adorable on screen and her conversations with Vijay are witty and positive. Samantha and Amie Jackson were the typical women representation of masala entertainers, and both looked like they were used as tools just to add the glamour quotient. Mahendran did the antagonist’s role with ease, as he portrayed cruelty in a relaxed manner.
Using a single shot or frame to epitomise the heroics of the protagonist and a scene where a just- orphaned child eats chocolate on the death of another villain are some rare occasions where Atlee seems to have used the director in him. After his first movie ‘RajaRani’ which was a decent effort for a debutant, Atlee should seriously consider more challenging scripts for progressing as a director. Cinematographer George C Williams did a pretty good job behind the camera capturing the beautiful landscapes of Kerala and for adding richness to the colourful and pompous visuals. GV Prakash’s songs go well with the total absurdity of the movie.
Considering that the movie had an elaborate description of a brutal rape and scenes that oozed with violent intent, perhaps the only question that remained at the end of the movie is: Why did our overtly sensitive censor board reward this movie with a clean U certificate and not at least a U/A certificate? Clearly, the logic has failed here too.