Thondan is what one gets if that do-gooder anna in your community ever decided to make a film. Like Samuthirakani last film Appa, it has the tone and style of a moral science documentary. But nobody can challenge the ideas he puts forth in the two-and-a-half hour long film. And when he mouths dialogues, it’s a tight slap on the face of a ‘5 second’ society that only has time for the next big disaster.
As an ambulance driver in the small town of Sembatti, Samuthirakani’s character Mahavishnu carries the burden of delivering high-risk accident victims to nearby hospitals. It’s a high stress job, but one he handles with relative ease. His job of saving lives at any cost puts him in direct conflict with a local politician (Namo Narayanan), who wants to kill a snitch.
Circumstances force Mahavishnu to butt heads again and again with Namo Narayanan. Until, well, trouble begins.
Samuthirakani, the actor, has awesome screen presence. He is an arresting sight. Seeing him wage a one-man war against the system is far more believable than seeing someone like Jayam Ravi in Nimirnthu Nil do it.
And perhaps he has hit upon the best way to make his movies work at last – act in them himself. Much of the adulation from the audience was for the way he said his lines – with the utmost sincerity and integrity. In anybody else’s hands, it would have sounded trite.
Gems such as: “When a girl doesn’t like you, why do you insist on showing that unlikeable face to her again and again?” evoked whistles and loud claps from the audience. Similar homilies from the rest of the cast, including the shrilly Arthana, and the too-earnest Vikranth lacked the same sincere effect.
Sunaina is aptly cast as a teacher and Samuthirakani’s wife. She’s a natural onscreen. Only, she’s given very little to do, as in every other commercial Tamil film.
But Samuthirakani, with this film, has graduated from the father/commanding older brother roles in the past to giving himself a romantic track.
And it is no garden variety track. It’s one in which, he spoofs the horror genre.
While at times the film does descend to glorifying Samuthirakani (the tall and rangy actor looks mighty good in those slow-mo shots), it doesn’t evoke the same distaste as a film like Remo did. Because this director at least attempts to convey ideas that society needs to hear at present.
Samuthirakani doesn’t rein in the melodrama. And following his cue, music director Justin Prabhakaran assaults our ears with mournful tunes and melodies every now and then. It’s jarring at times, and vaguely inspirational at others. But, once things begin to get better for the film’s lead, so does the music and the pace.
High on moral values, and low on actual style, Thondan is nonetheless, a good lesson on the things Tamil youth should and should not be today.
The Thondan review is a Silverscreen original article. It was not paid for or commissioned by anyone associated with the movie. Silverscreen.in and its writers do not have any commercial relationship with movies that are reviewed on the site.