I have never been more excited to review a movie. Any movie. I attended a 4:30 AM screening- one of the earliest in the city. The infectious energy of die-hard fans screaming their lungs out kind of got to me. By the end of the movie, I found myself clapping my hands high over my head, screaming along with them, who had just witnessed their idol like never before. Thuppakki is easily one of the most entertaining Tamil films in a long, long time. In my opinion, it is Vijay's best film till date.
The last Vijay film I saw on the big screen was Sachien, and it goes without saying that I have never really been a fan of his. Time and again, he has been criticized for not experimenting with his looks, and his character in general. In other words, he has always been playing himself in his movies. But with this film, Vijay breaks the mold and how. We don't associate the word 'cerebral' with the characters Vijay plays, but his Jagadish is convincingly intelligent. And for the first time, I saw the character instead of the mass hero that he is. He is exceedingly likable and belts out lines in Hindi like it is his second language. There are no quick answers in life, and Jagadish, too, takes his own time as he goes about solving this case. From taking sudden inspirations in the middle of a romantic moment to spending a night on a bench near Marine Drive, it is these elements that make his intelligence seem all the more believable.
Murugadoss totally owns Mumbai, making a film that smoothly glides over the language barrier. Setting a Tamil film entirely in another city has to be commended. After critical failures like Thaandavam, Billa 2 and Maattrraan, Thuppakki gives me hope that, one day, Tamil cinema will also be able to make an international film. But till then, national is good enough.
Vidyut Jamwal's formidable antagonist, who remains unnamed, is instrumental to the film's success. He's not the villain we are used to-- there aren't any daais and doois. He speaks in perfect English and confesses to knowing Tamil only konjam konjam. Running a widespread network of sleeper cells, his motives make perfect sense. His fight is not even against Jagadish in the first place. It so happens that their paths cross, before things eventually get personal. Breaking him mentally and physically, it is he who makes Jagadish appear stronger.
The story is not just about Jagadish hunting down the operator of the sleeper cell network. It also involves his personal life- family, girlfriend etc. So every time the movie pauses for a lighter moment or a song sequence, it is not cutting out of more pressing issues, but sculpting a different side to his character. Sreekar Prasad's editing does wonders to the film. The pacing is so good and the humor is so well infused into the narrative, it doesn't divert your attention from the primary issue. There's always this feeling that something bad can happen just about any time. There's this sprawling action sequence set across major locations in Mumbai that shows just how good the editing is.
Kajal Aggarwal's Nisha is a pataka. This film will do that to her what Ghajini did to Asin's career. She is gorgeous and acts well enough. Sathyan's presence is necessary but Jagadish's conversations with his character sort of simplifies the movie.
Santosh Sivan's camera makes sweet, sweet love to the streets of Mumbai. Craft-wise, Thuppakki excels immensely. The writing is very smart and unpredictable. Even the clich\xe9s are comforting. The songs may just be okay, but Harris Jeyaraj's background score is surprisingly very effective. Also, the fights were choreographed really well.
It delivers on almost all the counts, and you cannot ask for more from a commercial film like this. There's little one could do to make this movie better, while retaining all the plot points. At a run-time of 170 minutes, it's a grand achievement how the film never has a dull moment. The armed forces of India couldn't ask for a better tribute. Jagadish is our very own James Bond and I don't see why we shouldn't have a sequel. Turn this into a franchise, I say!view less