Thaanaa Serndha Koottam

Cast: Suriya, Keerthy Suresh, Ramya Krishnan, Senthil
Director: Vignesh Shivn

You’ve got to hand it to Vignesh Shivn for one reason – give him the most serious actor and he’ll make him someone who can get anyone to smile. Post a number of serious films such as the Singam series, Suriya is back to his days of Sanjay Ramasamy. The man has aged like wine and it’s obvious that he has loosened up a lot. I have fortunately not watched the Akshay starrer Special 26 and had zero expectations. But then came the promo and teaser of Thaanaa Serndha Koottam (the a distant remake of the Hindi film) which showed it to be a heist film and that’s where the disappointment begins as TSK isn’t a heist film at all.

Set in the late 80s, TSK has unemployment as the theme but instead of taking the route of Sathya or Varumayin Niram Sivappu, the film concentrates on a bunch of people who are unemployed. Suriya looks tailor-made for his role of Naachinaarkiniyan. As I said before, the man sports a cool smile throughout the film – something we didn’t really get to see him in his last few films. Keerthy has a minuscule role and doesn’t bring much to the table apart from the regular chuckles. The characters I loved in TSK should be Ramya Krishnan’s Azhagu Meena and Karthik’s Kurunjivendhan. While the former has shed her Baahubali image for a beautiful role of a family’s breadwinner who’d go to any lengths for it, the latter is a ruthless official who, I wish, had more screen time. It was a pleasure to see Senthil again on the big screen and Vignesh brings back the nostalgia with references to the veteran’s petromax and vazhaipalam comedies.

Though the film could’ve been a serious take on an issue that could’ve very well ended with a lengthy dialogue in the climax, the director has opted for a simple take that doesn’t warrant any seriousness. That said, the film doesn’t have anything new to bring a sense of awe to the audience and it leaves us with a been-there-seen-that feel throughout the runtime. Be it the small ‘transformations’ or the ‘twists’, they don’t make the impact they should’ve as the premise to make them a huge reveal is never made. The film though has its moments – predominantly in the form of one-liners and situational comedy. In one scene, a CBI aspirant says she wants to curb corruption and black money in the society and when asked her name, she says it’s Sasikala! The extended cameo of RJ Balaji is a blast, only making us wish we got to see him as much as what we did in the director’s previous film – Naanum Rowdy Thaan.

The technical prowess this film has is definitely noteworthy. Kiran’s art direction is stunning as bringing the 80s Chennai city on screen is no joke. The Mount Road set, complete with the LIC building, was mindblowing, to say the least. The costumes too are top notch and vibrant use of bright colours deliver a sense of freshness. Though it’s not even close to his best albums, Anirudh makes it up with the background score.

What didn’t work for me was they could’ve stuck to the chillaxed backseat storytelling fashion they predominantly followed instead of making Suriya look like a saviour for those around him. That’s a serious territory and since we have the film rather grazing in that zone, shots of a lot of Shankar’s films cross our minds. There’s even a scene where some unknown cops help Suriya out of a sticky situation because they are the ones who got their jobs because of Suriya. Though being the best of this Pongal’s releases, TSK could’ve been a much better film if it had stuck to its jovial tone and not succumb to the star power of its lead. That said, this is a Suriya we would love to see more off in the times to come.

Rating: 2.5/5

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