I had absolutely no expectations on this film seeing the trailers and reading the synopsis in various portals. It looked like a regular "Mudurai" based film, where there are two parties killing each other and girl from one caste will fall in love with a boy of opposite caste, which adds to the problems. That sounds super cliché right? Thilagar is more or less falls on similar lines, except for that love part, thank god. There is actually a lacklustre love portion, which gets overshadowed in front of rage and blood thirsty people who breathe revenge and have all symptoms of severe blood pressure.
Thilagar is a story of a calm and innocent boy and his transformation into an revenge seeking animal due to an unexpected death of his brother. The story happens in a typical village backdrop with two parties spitting venom on each other. Though the plot seems a lot similar to Thevar magan, subramaniapuram, madhayaanai kootam etc, there is a genuineness in the way the subject is treated, which makes it quite believable in the end.
The people, the dialogues, the Tamil slang used and the village backdrop looked very original. For that matter, even the villain looked threatening and competitive in front of the hero. The stunts were very good. There were some scenes where heads would break into brick walls, which looked so real on screen. There were not many boring punch dialogues but a lot of hardcore killing and throat slitting scenes. Ok, i have to admit that there were a few challenge dialogues, which were so old fashioned. The heroine and the love track eats up 15-20 mins, which didn't fit into the movie quite well. The heroine doesn't not even hangs around the hero once he transforms into a cruel, revenge seeking person. She cooly breaks up and thank god, there was no soup song. The action continues.
A major disturbing issue was the poor writing. The screenplay lacked focus, especially in the 1st half. There is always a love scene that's sandwiched between two serious scenes. The 2nd half was pretty good when compared to the 1st. Though you could easily predict what's going to happen in the climax, the action scenes were good, if not great. The climax was a bit abrupt and I kept staring at the screen even after the movie was over. I was wondering what the director is trying to convey. May be that's what the director is trying to convey, that even if he gives a moral message, things wont change.
Performances by Kishore was perfect as always. The look in his eyes and his body language was good. Poo Ram as a villain did show a lot of emotions in his eyes and his powerful dialogue delivery made quite an impact. The newcomer Dhruva was decent. He was good in the action sequences but needs some practice in love scenes and emotions. Mrudula just comes for a song and brings some melodramatic scenes with her. Neetu chandra is back with Bam Bim Bam, a repeat of Kanni Theevu Ponna, except for a red saree this time. The point is, she keeps the audience going in the 2nd half.
Surprisingly the BGM was good and kept the tention going till the end. It did help in elevating the depth of the action scenes. The cinematography was decent and the editing was rough and jumpy. There were a lot of abrupt cuts in the 1st half, which was quite disturbing. The stunts were really good.
Overall, Thilagar is pretty decent revenge drama, which does not go overboard in emotions but also fails to convey a message. 1st half fails to engange and 2nd half moves at a fairly brisk pace. A bit of rural humor instead of a routine love track would have been good. The film tries to maintain a raw feeling in the 2nd half. The film might not catch the attention of the urban crowd, but it will definitely connect with the rural audience, where the caste system and fights are still prevalent.