'Thirakatha' is as much a poignant exploration of the whimsicalities of the human mind, as it is a solemn treatise on life. It's a thoroughly engrossing motion picture that's intricately plotted and intelligently directed.
Akbar (Prithivraj) and his mates at Casablanca, a regal cafeteria that they run, are basking in the bliss of a major accomplishment. Akbar's maiden directorial venture has just had a dream run at the box-office. Toying with an idea to pen a new script, Akbar's interest is captured by a real-life romance that had waned away with time. The object of his attention, reigning superstar Ajay Chandran (Anoop) isn't much amused at Akbar's intentions, as he delves deeper into an extinguished love tale that had once been the talk of the town. As Akbar brushes the dust away, an alluring portrait is revealed; that of Malavika (Priyamani), the dazzling actor who had enthralled millions in her heydays, who had loved and apparently lost, and since then vanished silently without a trace.
I was totally impressed by the narrative structure of 'Thirakkatha'; a series of monologues that rampantly fling the viewer back and forth across vigilantly placed flashbacks. In all probability, the obvious unevenness is intentional, inkeeping with the complex emotions that it attempts to depict.
There isn't really a need to find reasons for everything. Or reasoning may soon become a way of your life - 'Thirakatha', is splattered with short and spicy verbal gems as these without for a moment, appearing obtrusive. They are carefully entwined in several layers of profound thought, as an objective analysis of life and its eventualities, goes on with an almost charming indifference.
'Thirakatha' moves much beyond the schizophrenic frenzy of an actress caught in a web of lies and deceit, as we saw in 'Arth.' Ranjith's Malavika is no schemer unlike Kavita Sanyal in the Mahesh Bhatt film; she's rather an ill-fated soul destined to fall into the pits of misery and desolation from the enviable heights her stardom had once helped her surmount.
The film is so engaging and so downright human that it's beyond doubt hard, to resist its lure. But I am not sure if it's the kind of film, just any audience would enjoy. It wouldn't hurt to call it a gravestone to love, and it wouldn't offer a joyful night at the movies either. It's a searing drama that dares to look at truth in the face, in as adult a way as it gets.
The film could very well boast of a few rivetingly real performances. Armed with a bruising laughter, Priyamani comes up with an astounding feat that's gloomy and glum and truly impossible to forget. This is a La Vie En Rose for her and she grabs it with a vengeance and goes about with her battle with disease and death with an amazing precision, easily overshadowing the rest of the cast with a supreme magnificence. It should be mentioned that Anoop Menon is as wonderful, and as a sad man overridden with guilt and remorse, strikingly paves the way for the cathartic finale. Prithviraj remains fittingly constrained in a role that offers no fresh challenges, and yet never falls short of significance.
'Thirakatha' might be no astonishing work of art, nor do I believe it seeks to be. It's a charming film that's plainly life-affirming without being overly pretentious or markedly melodramatic.