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Tik Tik Tik

Director: Shakti Soundar Rajan
Cast: Jayam Ravi, Nivetha Pethuraj

There is a fair share of pros and cons when you’re introducing a new genre to an audience. The advantages would include saying a simple story enclosed in a new wrapper (read: genre) and presenting something that’s brilliant. Not to mention, the possibilities of having a few tricks up their sleeves — something that the genre itself will give way to. On the other side of the spectrum, comes the dumbing down of the topic, especially if it’s ‘scientific’, to cater to audience who won’t really get it. Tik Tik Tik, Tamil cinema’s, if not Indian cinema’s first space film suffers a lot of the abovementioned cons despite reasonably banking on the advantages. But that’s alright!

When the head of Defence played by Jayaprakash (one of the best in the business to play a fun dad character and should restrict to just that), says space’le puviyeerpu sakthi kedayathu (there’s no gravity in space), most of us would’ve blurted ‘you don’t say’, but I understand the reason behind it and if it wasn’t for that, Tik Tik Tik would’ve been the film Tamil cinema needed at this point of time. What’s common between Avatar, The Island, Terminator Salvation and Date Night? All of these films had their stories revealed in their trailers. Of course, Tik Tik Tik has a small twist which doesn’t make it to the promotional cuts but that doesn’t really save the film’s story to be judged right before you walk into the theatre. But that’s alright!

An asteroid is heading towards Earth and keeping on track with whichever country’s film industry is doing the disaster film will have the city where the destruction occurs, the enormous one is heading towards the Bay of Bengal which will result in a massive Tsunami that’ll change the landscape of our country (for once I was glad that the statue of liberty is safe). Long story short, asteroid -> can be destroyed with a nuclear missile -> but stuck in Chinese Space Station -> they won’t give, so we got to steal -> astronauts can’t rob, so robber becomes an astronaut. And don’t call these spoilers because — Trailer! But that’s alright!

Then what’s so ‘alright’ about Tik Tik Tik? Well, for starters, the film doesn’t fool around by not showing the scenes from outer space. As a matter of fact, 70% of the film happens outside Earth. Director Shakti Soundar Rajan, who also made Tamil’s first Zombie film Miruthan with Jayam Ravi once again, has done his share of research. So much that the egoistic, well versed in science mini-me, who had his eyes scanning for any logical errors, couldn’t find much. Despite keeping the terminologies understandable, the director speaks about everything from artificial gravity to even taking a dig with a character on whether God is above or below them considering they’re in outer space. A part of me indeed felt proud about watching ‘our very own actors’ donning the space suit, floating in zero gravity, and spacewalking. Though the VFX isn’t on par with English flicks or the fact that you’ll get reminded of countless space films Hollywood have churned out over the years, considering the resources and budget we have, Tik Tik Tik is a product that proves that we’re running quicker than ever in the race to achieve quality the West boasts.

And as far as I’m concerned, that’s not even the best part of the film. What I least expected from this director-actor combo and the genre itself, was for the film to have a softer side apart from all the literal high flying action and drama. That, surprisingly came in the form of Jayam Ravi’s actual son Aarav who also plays his onscreen son. The emotions the duo brings to the table gives the film a heart much bigger than the asteroid itself. And naming Aarav as Ravi is quite a nifty touch. Not to mention the fact that the director had to steer away from the temptation of coming up with a love angle between Vasu (Jayam Ravi) and Swathi (Nivetha Pethuraj). And while we’re at it, both the actors pull off one of their career bests.

On the technical side, scenes such as the wide-angle shots in which Earth, the asteroid, and the spacecraft appear together look very convincing. Tik Tik Tik is also Imman’s 100th film and though the background score wasn’t satisfactory, the emotional Kurumba is hum-worthy and the title track is one of my favourite tracks of 2018. While Tik Tik Tik has a number of issues, they all feel minuscule in front of the director’s dream of making Tamil cinema’s first space film and almost, succeeding in it — similar to a bunch of pesky free-flying asteroids in the rather vast expanse called space. I certainly hope that more producers open up to such out of the world ideas (pun not intended) which will take Tamil cinema away from the death grip of hero oriented masala films and horror comedies. Imagine a Tamil version of Star Wars! I’m sure it won’t take long. Tik Tik Tik…..

My Rating: 3/5

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