Director Bala’s latest flick Tharai Thappattai is every bit a Bala film and a little more. His usual financially struggling lead actors, beeped up words in the name of reality, a rustic yet beautiful love story and a gory ending is all present vividly in this film too and from the looks of it, the scenes are only getting stronger. The lead roles are played by Sasikumar and Varalaxmi. For someone who worked once as an assistant to Bala, this is personally a landmark film for Sasi. This film will also go down in the books of history as a one that rewrote the cinema life of Varalaxmi. Bala has roped in some known faces from his earlier films such as G.M.Kumar who played Highness in Avan Ivan and the person who played a cop in the same film has bagged a role here too. R.K.Suresh, the head of the production company Studio 9 débuts in this film as the villain. Illayaraaja scores the beats for this film which also happens to be his 1000th film. Nothing short of a lifetime achievement indeed.
The story of Naan kadavul revolved around a group of beggars, in Avan Ivan it was a about a pair of crooks, in Paradesi it was about an entire group of villagers who ended up as slaves in a tea estate. Tharai thappattai is the story of a group of folk dancers, their lifestyle, problems they face personally and professionally and how they manage to make ends meet with whatever little they get. First half starts off excitingly with a stellar dance performance by Varalaxmi and co stars and the level of dedication they’ve given is evident from the moves and facial reaction. Illayaraaja’s foot tapping numbers would definitely wake that dancer in you to get down and shake a leg. The story slowly unravels from a beautiful love track between the lead pair into how one sacrifices their love to make sure the other gets a well settled life. The second half, just like in most Bala films, is where the actual story picks up pace and the dreams of many get crashed as the plot takes a new turn of events leading to a climax. The last couple of minutes is easily one of the most gory sequences said in a as-decently-as-possible manner Tamil cinema has ever seen. It easily justifies the A certificate this film has fetched making it safe to watch with friends alone. Though a lot is left to imagination, the way it’s taken along will get traumatising for a few.
As far as performances are concerned, Bala is known in the industry to pull the best out of everyone and that’s so evident here as well. Varalaxmi steals the limelight, even over Sasi with her stellar performance. G.M.Kumar as the forgotten depot of talents now turned into a drunkard has given his best as usual. Bala’s films have a strong villain and R.K.Suresh’s acting was amazing. He could’ve have asked for a better entry as an actor. Even the rest of cast, especially the dancers, fit the bill perfectly. Showing their lifestyle and the problems these artists face in a day to day scenario is superbly portrayed by the director. Illayaraaja’s background music sets the mood perfectly for the shots.
Overall, Tharai Thappattai is a lovely ensemble of cast with amazing talents used well in the first half and sacrificed to a Bala-isque climax which is gory to imagine.