Thadayara Thakka – DVD

Cast: Arun Vijay, Mamta Mohandas; Music: Thaman; Director: Magizh Thirumeni

Our lead actors are getting increasingly omnipotent. They are business-savvy, stunningly romantic, bewilderingly muscled and breathtakingly clever. With their Herculean strength, they can launch one punch that can throw a man off the ground, kill nearly six thugs in a matter of seconds and conduct an undercover operation in a time that takes us to visit a toilet in a restaurant.

It is difficult to care for any characters where the director has not spent any effort in building the, who are introduced in mundane regularity: The villain is a violent, yet nonchalant murderer; the hero comes is an intrepid romance and ambition, a thug in bed with a small-time TV actress. Then as if the time is up, the rest of the characters are unveiled in a hurry: a police inspector who works for the gangs, the MLA who lives on the mercy of the gang-leader, the friends of the hero who, curiously, look like small-time thugs themselves.  Flashbacks appear frequently as if to compensate for the songs and by the time all the characters are introduced, we are past caring. We know the ominous when we see one. We enough films to know very early that the life of Selva, an ordinary travels driver, is going get muddled with Maha, the notorious local gang-leader. Only, the reasons are not quite convincing.

Having said that, there are genuinely powerful moments in the film; one where Selva and Priya get rounded by Maha’s thugs and another where he goes to deliver Maha’s mistress back to their gang. But the director’s undoing of his own effective props is the unsettling factor here. I found it difficult to get tensed about any situation because I know Selva can beat up any number of thugs who come with any number of weapons. The villain gang spend enormous amount of time in ‘planning’ their round-up and throughout their elaborate scheming, I kept thinking what a futile exercise it is. I smiled in acknowledgement when the hero demolishes their wicked plans to smithereens in minutes. One of the cardinal rules of mass filmmaking: a hero needs a weakness. Even superman has kryptonite. This enable the villains to get a hold over them, albeit temporarily. This is so that the audience is anxious in thinking what would happen to our beloved hero if the villain were to find out or exploit the ‘weakness’. Of course, our hero will eventually overcome that with some clever backup plan or with the momentary quick thinking.

Here, we don’t get a clue of what the hero is thinking. What motivates him and why. How did he become a powerful fighter? Why did he decide to avenge the injustice of the medical shop owner, which has been solved anyway with the payment? Why does he talk to his girlfriend the way he does? What kind of relationship does he have with his friends? Prior to the climax, whilst waiting for Maha’s brother, he is sceptical of what the gang will do to them or Maha’s mistress. He even seems afraid. In the end, it all seems like a ploy to distract the viewers because he did, apparently, have a plan. Or did he think up the plan during the last minute? We don’t know. When we can’t connect with the characters beyond a point, we stop to care. Also, when we see things resolved quickly with some fistfight, we don’t take the situations seriously.

Thadayara Thakka, meaning unrelenting attack, is indeed an unrelenting attack. Too many people get killed in too many violent ways. I hope this film is not shown in prime time TV. It is apparent that Magizh had liked Pollathavan. We all have. It is also understandable if he wanted to make a film like that. However, Thadayara Thakka feels like as if Pollathavan had one too many drinks and woke up with a hangover.