Vijay's Thuppaki Review - First Day First Show Report
One of the key reasons for Thuppaki's sky high expectations is because the movie marks the beginning of Vijay's strategy to working with top rung directors (barring Shankar's Nanban which was a faithful remake of 3 Idiots). This is probably the best line-up of crew members and technicians for a Vijay movie. On the casting side, Kajal Aggarwal, Vidyut, Sathyan, Jayaram have provided the required support for Vijay to showcase his talent. Does the script keep you engaged throughout the running time of 2 hour 45 minutes? Will Thuppaki uplift the festive mood this Diwali? Definitely, Yes.
The story opens in Mumbai with a bomb blast in a public bus. Jagdish (Vijay) is on a mission to find the terrorist gang and people behind the blast. There are twists and unexpected turns along the way. The story has enough ammo to fire up Vijay's fan base.
Thuppakki is Vijay; Vijay is Thuppakki
Vijay has carried the movie from start to finish with his self-assured confidence and trade-mark style. The script makes frequent switch-overs from intense sleeper cell scenes to commercial love/comedy scenes. Vijay was able to make some bumpy transitions look convincing with his acting abilities. As always, Vijay dances effortlessly and comedy comes to him naturally. Vijay's costumes, pleasant looks and mischievous expressions will surely win him more female fans. Vijay looks fit and younger in his toned muscular physique.
Story, Direction and Screenplay
AR Murugadoss' engaging story is narrated in gray tones balanced with commercially colourful compromises. The movie may have minor similarities to Ramana which has worked out well again. Murugadoss has done his homework by consulting ex-CBI chief Karthikeyan and the details are blended in nicely while dumbing it down for audience. AR Murugadoss has intentionally slowed down the pacing and narration in critical scenes (e.g., Hospital security chief conversation in the terrace) to get the message across. The dialogues about common people's (un)willingness to put their life at risk to fight terrorism are well written and delivered by Vijay. Also, the hero putting his sister in a high-risk operation provides the impetus and emotional connect with the audience.
It is interesting to note that the villain (Vidyut) tracks down the hero instead of other way around, which is usually seen. Another aspect which is told subtlely is Vijay's undercover act passing off as a common man similar to the way terrorist sleeper cells operate. Vijay's exterminating the sleeper cell operations in Mumbai is not revealed to his lover, family or others (except his cop friend Sathyan). This aspect could have been underlined a bit for additional impact and stronger appreciation for Jagdish's character.
The love/comedy scenes and songs definitely stick out like sore thumb since they are not integrated well with the story line. It is understandable why AR Murugadoss had to make these compromises. We are pointing this out without really complaining since such intrusions have become essential to satisfy the fan base and common audience with diverse set of expectations.
Stylish portrayal of Vijay in anti-terrorism operations have a perfect closure with mass elements. For instance, scenes such as simultaneous execution of 12-for-12 sleeper cell killings at precisely the same minute, sister rescue scenes with sniffer dog, and the final scene where he symbolically blows up the ship with his hand gesture and subsequent punch dialogue before villain killing are sure treats for fans.
- AR Murugadoss seems to have taken a tip from his association with Aamir Khan in Ghajini Hindi remake. Upon Aamir's insistence, some emotional scenes involving Asin's memory were added after climax action sequences in Hindi version. AR Murugadoss has used similar finish in Thuppakki giving a nice emotional touch and meaning to the movie by extolling the virtues of army.
Kajal has done her role exceptionally well in perking up the lighter moments with her expressions, dance moves in songs and chirpy love scenes laced with humour. Kajal has good scope in both "Antarctica" song (interesting concept) and "Alaika Laika" (showcasing her dance moves). Kajal's presence enlivens the scenes and songs for people looking for relief from action scenes.
- Santhosh Sivan's Cinematography and Sreekar Prasad's editing keep the narration tight despite relatively long running time. The candid capture of Mumbai adds to the style and character of the city. Santosh's fast working style is critical to the successful shooting of scenes in real locations in Mumbai. Harris scores big in the final minutes with his song ("Poi Varavaa") dedicated to army jawans which is sure to leave a lump in your throat. Harris' BGM keeps up the pace and makes the operations look convincing with his theme track.
What could have been better?
Song picturizations look low-budget. Almost 4 out of 5 songs solely rely on Vijay's dance moves, which gets a bit repetitive for general public. AR Murugadoss and Santhosh Sivan have pulled out some of the old tricks of picturizing the songs in big stadiums, by using bright incandescent lights in the background to make it look richer. Vijay's introduction song "Kutti Puli Kootam" and opening fight scenes are speed breakers right after the word "go".
Screenplay could have been tighter. Even though the individual scenes were riveting, the bigger purpose required to latch the audience interest lacks full conviction. The objective of killing the head of sleeper-cell (Vidyut) lacks macro-connection resulting in lack of depth for Vijay vs Vidyut's clash. Some of the lengthy climax fight sequences in the ship could have been trimmed. The final 10+ minutes of man-to-man combat scenes with Vidyut led to some chatter among audience.
With right promotions and word of mouth reaching out to neutral and family audience, Thuppakki is well positioned to get tagged along with Ghilli and Pokiri.
Reviewer Rating -