Cast: Vishal, Prasanna, Vinay, Anu Emmanuel, Andrea Jeremiah, Simran, John Vijay, K. Bhagyaraj
When the promotional material of Thupparivaalan released, it was often compared with and even ridiculed for its similarity with the Sherlock Holmes series. While I expected Mysskin to cover his tracks with some brilliant tricks, I should say, I was flabbergasted to find him use it to his advantage. He even starts the film with a dedication to Sherlock Holmes and its creator Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. An old fear surfaced along with it as the last time he dedicated a film to a legend (Bruce Lee), it didn’t go well for him (the infamous Mugamoodi).
Thupparivaalan follows the trials and tribulations of the detective duo Kaniyan Poongundran and Mano. The character sketches of them are etched from Holmes and his trusty sidekick Watson. While the former is a hyperactive, restless, puzzle cracking genius, the other is a humble friend who, along with the audience, wonders what the detective is up to next. Even right from the house set up to the pocket magnifiers, inspirations have been plenty even from the recent TV show Sherlock.
Unlike almost all his previous films, Mysskin has got on board a stellar cast that includes the likes of Vinay, Andrea Jeremiah, Bhagyaraj, Simran and much more. What worked in his earlier films such as Anjathey was the fact that almost no one in that film was known faces which looked more realistic and at the same time, wasn’t predictable. Unfortunately, apart from Prasanna, nothing else is common between these films. The scenes struggle to give space to all the artists and very few get their time on screen they deserve. The villains live together under the same roof, but don’t seem to be related. More importance could’ve been given to explain their background instead of just making them a bunch of folks who do bad things for money. Moreover, when a detective makes a claim based on evidence he finds, he usually explains how he came to that conclusion. Here we have scenes where the detective come up with ‘statements’ that appear from no where, which, obviously end up being right. And more importantly, films such as Mugamoodi and Thupparivaalan don’t need a lead actress. While Mysskin has tried to bring it in as amicable as possible, the subplot and love-hate relationship between the duo fails to lighten up a spark–between them nor between them and us.
What works tremendously well is the screenplay, which, though dips at a few spots, maintains an atmosphere of tension as to why the flow of incidents happens. And of course, the different subplots coming together is a pivotal one in this genre and they do so in a satisfactory fashion. The action sequences are a visual treat and the efforts that have gone into it is visible. There aren’t any songs, sans a feeble theme song sung by Mysskin himself and I guess by now we can safely say that the director will no more insert a ‘yellow saree’ dance sequence in the film. The director’s touch is evident in a few places, though, as a whole, it begs to differ. A subway scene, the kids in school uniform, an eerily calm and composed villain, scenes happening behind walls and the love for violin music are very much present. His adoration towards Chinese films is also evident with the Kungfu fight sequence which was similar to that of Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill series and a scene in which a character performs harakiri (an ancient practice followed by samurais to commit suicide by slitting their belly open with a knife.) The lighting and cinematography elevate to the mood of the film just like its background score. The film is a well-deserved break for Vishal and an example that Mysskin can pull off a commercial film if necessary.
Overall, Thupparivaalan is an interesting watch set against a fascinating backdrop that is sure to decently entertain.
My rating: 3/5