Genre: Thriller

Director: Rajesh M. Selva

Cast: Kamal Haasan, Prakash Raj, Trisha Krishnan, Kishore & Asha Sarath

Thoongaavanam: Style Meets Substance

Kamal’s much anticipated third Kollywood flick of 2015 graced screens worldwide on 10 November 2015. Is the Deepavali release worth the watch? Definitely. In case you weren’t aware, the film is based on the 2011 French film, “Nuit Blanche” (A Sleepless Night) and stays very loyal to the original screenplay. Needless to say, Kamal nails his role as C.K. Diwakar, a Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) officer who is distanced from his teenage son. Everyone’s favourite villain, Prakash Raj, injects the occasional doses of humour into the otherwise serious plot by playing the quirky drug lord and nightclub owner, Vittal Rao.

It was pleasing to note that the movie delved straight into the action right from the first frame, without beating around the bush. An undercover drug heist has gone awry; Diwakar is unmasked, identified and has his son Vasu kidnapped by Rao’s men. How Diwakar goes about rescuing his only child from the baddies forms the rest of this 127 minute long movie, which is relatively short by Indian cinema’s standards. The absence of songs, save the awkward dance number played during the rolling of the credits, was also welcome as far as I’m concerned.

Any kind of song would have most definitely stuck out like a sore thumb amidst the fast-paced action.

Unlike mainstream commercial Kollywood films, Thoongaavanam does not boast any heart-melting romance between the male and female leads. As an advocate for actresses being cast in weighty and impactful roles, I could not help but feel a tinge of disappointment at Trisha Krishnan’s character. She plays a cop, Malikka, who is kept in the dark regarding her colleague, Dhiraviyam’s (Kishore) involvement – spoiler alert – with the drug dealers.

thoonga-vanam

Even when she finally learns of the truth, it is excruciating to watch her waste precious seconds by placing emotions ahead of intellect. Malikka also gets a good thumping from Diwakar during which he nearly breaks her arm. Nope, ladies – still no feisty, empowered female police officer in a lead role in Kollywood yet. (*sigh*)

Have I mentioned that nearly 95% of this movie directed by first-time director, Rajesh M. Selva, is set in a nightclub named Insomnia? Very appropriate, isn’t it? Although it might make some a little claustrophobic, it is indeed a refreshing change from films which feature songs within which several locations are brought to the audience. The film’s plus points are its cast, screenplay, action sequences and comical moments. Having said that, Thoongaavanam is a movie to be savoured in theatres just once.

Rating: 7.5 / 10

Written by Uma Nathan

Full-time sub-editor. Part-time writer, copywriter, and editor all rolled into one. Photography, travel, food, reading and teaching take up whatever time remains.

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