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Review – Thadam

Film: Thadam
Director: Magizh Thirumeni
Cast: Arun Vijay, Smruthi, Tanya Hope, Vidya Pradeep, Yogi Babu, Sonia Aggarwal, Meera Krishnan and Fefsi Vijayan
Music: Arun Raj
Cinematography: Gopinath

Rating: 4 Stars

A grim crime occurs and there are two suspects in the case. Both look alike. What the cops are certain about is that one among the two has definitely committed the act. Having zeroed in on suspects, one would think that spotting the culprit would be a cakewalk for the cops. Well, that is not to be. The problem the cops face is more challenging than it initially appears. So, what is the problem?

The similarities between the two suspects go beyond just looks. From being present at the crime scene at the time of the crime to even their DNA’s, they have everything in common. What adds to the mystery is both have no reason to kill the victim. Or at least that is what that the cops initially think…

Director Magizh Thirumeni is a master at narrating crime stories and he narrates this one with a flourish.
The story is spun around two individuals, whose lives are completely different from one another in some aspects but then have so much in common in certain others. Each character has been fleshed out in a certain strong and unique fashion that they both impress. Magizh’s mastery in story telling lies in the fact that he can narrate the story in such a way that you are not told about the common features and factors until late into the second half. That is when the pieces begin to fall in place in the jigsaw puzzle.

Today’s audiences are an educated lot. To impress them, a director not only has to entertain them but also educate them. He has to tell them something of worth that they did not know before watching this film. Magizh does that in his own unique style in this film.

Be it about science, or law or for that matter, about crime, Magizh puts out facts that not only are new and credible but astonishing as well. For instance, his film tells you that the DNA of individuals need not necessarily be unique as is widely believed to be. In another instance, his film also explains that the engineering concept used to design a particular inner garment of women is the same concept that has been used to design the famous Howrah bridge in Kolkata. Interesting fusion of facts like these into the film’s sequences make the story that much more interesting.
Narrating a story like Thadam on screen is a nightmare for any director simply because of the manner in which this story needs to be told. The developments in the lives of two individuals have to be shown simultaneously and the tricky part is that their stories are told in a non-linear fashion. A slight lapse at any point in time can result in either confusion or boredom for the audiences. But Magizh masterfully steers the narration in such a way that there is no confusion whatsoever from start to finish. He ends the film by neatly tying up all the knots that were loose, giving the viewer the satisfaction of having watched a complete thriller.

The reason why Magizh could narrate the story so well is primarily because of some great performances coming in from his lead actors.

Arun Vijay, who delivered an impressive performance the last time he worked with Magizh in Thadaiyara Thaaka, repeats the feat in this film too. A director’s delight, Arun Vijay moulds himself into the very character that he plays on screen.

Full marks to the actor for having played two different characters simultaneously and in a fashion that leaves no room for complaint. Such an accomplishment is possible only by an actor who has absolute dedication.

Playing two different characters with a completely different set of traits requires not just great skill but also immense conviction and focus. What it also requires is a great deal of trust in the director. Arun Vijay seems to have had all of these and that is why he has been able to portray both characters – Ezhil and Kavin with the same intensity and make them appear credibile.

The next person whose performance catches your eye is that of Yogi Babu who plays Suruli, the friend of Kavin. The comedian does his job of providing humour without any hullabaloo and is a value addition to the film.

Among the heroines, Smruthi, who plays the role of Anandhi, impresses with her innocent looks and effortless acting. Vidya Pradeep as Malar too does a neat job of her role as does Tanya Hope, who plays Deepika.

Young music director Arun Raj scores some really lovely melodies for this film. His background score is apt and enhances the emotions the director looks to communicate. Needless to say, the youngster has immense potential in music and is one to watch out for in future.

On the technical front, cinematographer Gopinath seems to have made the biggest contribution, giving the film a rich and classy tone. The tones and the shades he uses to indicate Arun Vijay’s anger in certain sequences are perfect. Those looking to learn about focus can learn volumes from the work of this cinematographer in this film. For instance, there is a sequence in the beginning of this film that is set in a lift. The lift is crammed with 15 to 20 people. Both the hero and the heroine are in two opposite corners of the lift with scores of people in between. Yet, the cameraman shoots the sequence in such a way that as a viewer, you get to observe the expressions on both the lead characters faces as if there were nobody in between them. This is a masterfully done sequence and a special word of appreciation for both the director and the cinematographer for having done it so elegantly.

In short, Thadam is a classy, interesting, informative, investigative crime thriller that is definitely worth a watch!

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