Casts: Vijay, Samantha, Amy Jackson, Mahendran, Radhika, Baby Nainika
Genre: Action Drama
Vijay is one of the top league actors who garner immense expectations and pre-talks about his films. However, ‘Theri’ was more special with the dynamic actor joining hands with a new age director, Atlee who gave us the memorable, ‘Raja-Rani’. From the poster release to the trailer, ‘Theri’ never failed to excite the audiences. So will this ‘Theri’ fire as expected?
Joseph Kuruvilla (Vijay) and his daughter, Nivetha (Baby Nainika) lead a simple and happy life avoiding any troubles. Nivetha’s teacher (Amy Jackson) gradually finds out that behind the simplicity and fear, Joseph might have a deep back-story.
Story – Screenplay
‘Theri’ might not be something that is completely new but Atlee tries to infuse innovation whenever he can. The usual revenge saga is presented in a very sleek way with carefully tailor made ‘mass’ scenes inserted to please Vijay fans. Atlee injects messages such as child labour and women safety by adapting real life cases. Despite formulaic revenge saga, Atlee invests quite a lot on building the characters well by stating their flaws, dreams and objectives very clearly. This gives us more room for us to emote to the characters when the shifts gear to a more grim tone. The conversation between Mahendran and Vijay before interval is something to watch for!
Samantha-Vijay’s love story has been presented very neatly and the flash back portions carry sincere emotions that will never stop circulating your mind even when you leave the theatre. The father-daughter relationship and how the film directs to the message that every bad guy’s fate is the cause of their parent’s flawed upbringing, is noteworthy.
However, ‘Theri’s main problem starts when it gets distracted by too much of forced commercialism (excessive slow motion and punch dialogues) that doesn’t really progress the story at times. The revelation of the main twist in just 20 minutes in the film takes off the shine of the remaining screenplay. After a racy first half, ‘Theri’ enters the second with a middling step, running on and on with lengthy scenes that are often distracted by unwarranted song placements and fair share of illogical but ‘exciting’ fan moments. After a while, everything becomes very convenient for the protagonist the emotional graph of the film starts to fall. The film builds up well only to end with an unsatisfactory climax. Seeing a new age director falling for hill-old cinematic conventions might be a disappointing sign.
All said, ‘Theri’ is not an over-the-top masala film but an exciting cop flick that has a fair share of tonal inconsistency that might leave you unsettled at times.
Casting & Performance
It’s Vijay’s show all the way in ‘Theri’ as the actor flexes great versatility and shoulders the entire film neatly. In fact, ‘Theri’ is one of Vijay’s recent best in terms of performance as well. Be it the exotic stunt sequences or the realistic emotional scenes, Vijay stamps his experience. His variation in look is another noteworthy point.
Samantha excels in her important role that drives the entire film. If the audiences can’t connect with her, the film falls heavily. However, luckily the young actress has given a neat and memorable performance. Amy Jackson has nothing much to do in the film except shaking legs in the final song portions. ‘Motta’ Rajendran comes throughout the film as Vijay’s sidekick and impresses us with his sole comic antics that is done with realism and a degree of underplay. Easily one of his best. Baby Nainika reminds us of Meena literally at parts and impresses us thoroughly with so much of cute one-liners.
The legendary director Mahendran who shares so much of experience behind the camera impresses us with his silent acting. His eyes are powerful enough to convey what he is thinking without any loud dialogues. However, his impressive show in acting does not get explored, as we might have wanted, as his character fizzles out very fast, transiting to a feeble one by the time the film reaches the finish line.
Technically ‘Theri’ is a winner at aspects.
George C Willaim’s camera work is extensive and he impresses with his unconventional angles to visually set a narrative as well. Editor Anthony L Ruben also contributes to the sleek look with his fast cuts. However, his fast cuts are contained with numerous lengthy scenes (screenplay problem) that doesn’t save us from feeling the long duration of the film.
G.V.Prakash’s songs are catchy and memorable. His work in the BGM is terrific but the use of the theme music might sound repetitive at times. ‘Jithu Jilladi’ song is a definite eye soother but it can’t be said about the other songs in terms of visuals.
Despite the lengthy, predictable screenplay, ‘Theri’ passes off as a fairly engaging affair, rescued by the neat performances.
Director’s crown – Atlee: 3.25/5