Blending two differing genres into a new storytelling twist, or what I like to call a ‘cocktail’ genre is something which has not been explored in South Indian cinema. A movie of this ‘cocktail’ genre typically impresses with the twist. By the twist, I don’t mean the usual plot twist that we have become so accustomed to. Its the art of telling a story, with a fresh perspective or in a hitherto overlooked angle. Regardless of whether or not such cocktail works receive uniform critical acclaim, they are—at the very least—fun for the masses, refreshing for the audience who are expecting the usual and most often go on to become crowd favorites. This week’s new release ‘Thirudan Police’ directed by newcomer Caarthick Raju falls under this category.
In Thirudan Police, Caarthick Raju takes up probably the most abused genre of all – the ‘revenge drama’ – and gives it his own entertaining comical twists. By cinematic rules, this film which is about a unruly youngster avenging his father’s murder must also fall under the quintessential ‘wastrel- warrior-winner’ category. But then hold your horses, as twenty minutes into the film and having stated his dramatic conflict, Caarthick Raju starts pulling rabbits out of his hat. With well written supporting characters and a taut screenplay with no dull moments, the first half zooms past in a jiffy, in spite of a dream duet playing havoc with the flow of events. The second half starts to lag a bit, but soon picks up steam and goes on to stage a rib-tickling, hilarious but still the most sensible resolutions of recent times.
If you come to think of it, two things stand out in ‘Thirudan Police’ and make the film what it is. The first is Caarthick Raju’s skill in infusing ‘matter-of-fact’ humor into the most humdrum of situations. Many mundane situations turn out to be entertaining and funny, just because of well written dialogues and the way the whole scene is handled. For example, the majority of the second half could have turned dangerously melodramatic if not for the pervading light-heartedness, which permeates the script. And this jovial mood is set up with a lot of taste. Unlike most commercial potboilers. comic relief is not here as a part of the package or just for the sake of pleasing a section of the audience. Its there for a purpose and in fact doubles up as the unheralded savior, which saves the movie from becoming predictable and routine. Caarthick does a spoof of his own writing when we are least expecting, catching us off-guard. Though such scenes are a treat to watch, there are times when even the well executed comedy and dialogues cannot prevent the ‘Been there. Seen that’ feel from creeping up. Some lines which were meant to be hilarious don’t work, and the jokes tend to get repetitive. All these things notwithstanding, here is a filmmaker who undeniably, has got the knack of using ‘humor’ intelligently and efficiently, to his film’s favour
The second thing that works for the film is the realistic mood, that it manages to maintain throughout. All the heroism and ruggedness we have come to associate with our cop protagonists are, once for all, thrown to the bins, and here we see a relatable youngster who struggles with accepting the harsh realities of being a lower rank officer in the police force. When he comes to understand the limitations of his power, Caarthick Raju impresses in the way he makes his protagonist plot revenge against the people who had wronged his father. This realistic feel goes for a toss in a few scenes, where murderers are projected as buffoons and kidnappings are done with the ease of going for an evening walk. The female protagonist serves no apparent purpose in the script, and I still cant understand why able filmmakers feel the need to have a ‘heroine; in their plot-lines! Economic pressures? The romance is bland, and the film could have done itself tons of good without it. But, all these shortcomings are drowned by the nonstop laughs and strategically placed emotional moments.
The engagement factor of a film in the ‘cocktail’ genre largely depends on its actors, and here Caarthick scores with his apt casting choices. ‘Naan Kadavul’ Rajendran and John Vijay pull the rug from under all other artists by delivering show-stealing performances. They are both a ‘scream’ in the climax, and they score effortlessly with their hilarious styles of dialogue delivery and body language. I cant imagine this film being half this entertaining without them. Dinesh, fresh from his powerhouse performance in Cuckoo, delivers a neat show as the reluctant constable and emotes quite well when he is required to give strikingly contrasting impressions in tandem. Naren, with the air and authority of the commisioner, is extremely convincing but faces the threat of being typecast. I would love to see Naren in something very radical in the future. Bala Saravanan has been having a good run in recent times, and he again proves why he is such a bankable performer with his witty one liners and snarling remarks. Caarthick has intelligently used him as the voice of the audience, and he peps up the proceedings big time in the second half.
The technicalities just pass muster. Cinematography by Siddarth and the background score by Yuvan Shankar Raja are adequate. The less said about the songs, the better. But editors Praveen and Srikanth have done a good job by giving us a slick 130 minute film, which doesn’t slacken much. The film having worked perfectly well in its funny sequences, falls a wee bit on its face when it tries to turn ‘preachy’ towards the very end. Caarthick could have thought about maintaining the tongue-in-cheek mood, and resisting the temptation to succumb to loftier intentions. But, the end credits scene is a fantastic idea and it works out beautifully.
Despite its flaws and an unwarranted urge to send a message across, Thirudan Police largely stays off cinematic cliches and impresses with its quirky humor and refreshing story-telling style. I would definitely recommend it as a weekend family stress-buster.