Thunivu Tamil Movie
In Theaters: INDIA
Still fresh in my memory is the 1991 film 'Rudra' where Bhaghyaraj goes about with a bank heist as an individual disguising himself like a clown. The scene was novel, and it was a perfect hero introduction for someone like Bhaghyaraj, who uses his head more than his fists.
Cut to 2023, more than three decades later, we see Ajith Kumar reading a book with a cool head while a band of dacoits storms the bank. I do get that the two movies are decades apart, so their sensibilities may not match. However, I always question why I relished the 1991 movie scene more than the latest. The answer goes well beyond personal preference.
Coming to the story of 'Thunivu' - a group of men plans a bank heist with the help of a cop. They plan their moves. Once they enter the bank, they encounter the 'Dark Devil' (Ajith). He claims that the heist belongs to him. We then have a series of action scenes and twists along the way that reveals murkier things surrounding the current banking and financial system. In short, a social message is passed along at the end.
Director Vinoth's third collaboration with Ajith is set right in the zone of the director. This was how he started his career with 'Sathuranga Vettai' where he traversed the life of a con man who exploited every loophole in the human emotional framework to loot money. Herein, there is a 'star' in the form of Ajith. The director is answerable to his loyal fanbase. So, there needs to be a 'chill-up' song with elements of 'pep-talk', some punchlines, and a lady beside him.
Thankfully the 'star' elements did not jarringly interfere with the course of the story. Even the leading lady, Maju Warrier, had a decent screen space and made a good pair for Ajith, considering his age and look. However, the action sequences and tacky graphics made the experience sub-par. The screenplay was quite fluid and did not justify the characterization.
The movie shows Ajith as the bad guy who does things for money. Then, how come he goes about moral policing the bank executives? The writing fails to answer these key questions such that it makes the movie's moral fabric appear flawed. The Ingram MAC-10 firing during Ajith's introduction was like a cartoon.
The climax firing from the speed boat also felt like being stuck inside a video game session where the leading actors alone survive for the most part while the others fall like a pack of cards. The action sequences were over-the-top and looked unreal. The saving grace was Mohana Sundaram's character as a street-smart reporter who has his way around the system. The comic timing worked out.
Technicalities were below par. The music and BGM were loud and jarring. The editing was slick, and the pace was consistent. However, the biggest eyesore was the bank set. The bank and its surroundings looked too artificial and on the face. It was all Ajith throughout. He manages to keep the crowd engaged. John Kokken as the 'corporate' villain was a good choice but did not match Ajith's caliber as an antagonist.
Director Vinoth still has his knack for deception, which is evident with the sort of twists that he poses with different plot points. However, his partnership with the stars has to reach an agreement wherein he needs to be more aggressive, and his presence needs to felt in the screenplay. I am awaiting a more organic movie from a potent talent like Vinoth!