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Thupparivaalan

Directed by : Mysskin

Casting : Vishal, Prasanna, Vinay, Anu Emmanuel, Andrea Jeremiah

Music :Arrol Corelli

Produced by : Vishal Film Factory

PRO : Johnson

Review :

The last time Mysskin made a movie with a big-name hero (Jiiva), we got the underwhelming Mugamoodi. 

 

Will the whelm-o-meter needle sink lower, now that our most idiosyncratic filmmaker has roped in a bigger-name hero (Vishal), who’s also the producer? All doubts are dispelled in the hero-introduction scene, a longish one, where we don’t even see his face.

 

We just sense his presence, as he moves about, a body-camera rig strapped on him so that we see what he sees. 

 

It might be the best joke in Thupparivaalan, for the point of the narrative is that we don’t see what he sees. 

 

His mind races so fast, we are always ten steps behind. In other words, this may be a star vehicle, but it’s the director in the driver’s seat. Phew!

 

Hence the scene featuring seppuku. Hence the name of an investigating officer: Stanley Kubrick. The hero’s name, meanwhile, is a throwback to classical literature: Kaniyan Poongundran. 

 

And from the world of pulp, we get more names, derived from the writer Thamizhvanan and his famous detective-protagonist, Shankarlal. 

 

My favourite in joke was the cheeky cut from a painting (Vermeer’s The Milkmaid) to a real-life action . 

 

A ballerina painting by Degas is also referenced. I haven’t figured out what it’s about, but I’ll bet there’s a story there as well.

 

There are mysterious deaths, including a body in a refrigerator.

 

And who’s the man tossed from the eighth floor of a building? Wait! What has all this got to do with the boy who wants to find the person who killed his pomeranian?

 

This scene with the boy, who offers a fee of eight-hundred and change, is a lovely bit of character building -- for earlier, Kaniyan has refused a case that would have earned him 50 lakhs. You can be a hero even without landing a punch.

 

Or a heroine. There is one, technically speaking: Mallika (Anu Emmanuel), who we first see in one of Mysskin’s favourite haunts, the subway. 

 

There’s no conventional love angle. Instead, we get the horrifying scene where Kaniyan shoves Mallika to the floor and hands her a broom, and she smiles. 

 

This seems to be the year for heroines in abusive relationships. But Kaniyan isn’t a misogynist.

 

Mysskin had taken a story, too, from Doyle. I was always invested in the mystery, but it doesn’t have the snap of a really satisfying case.

 

Mysskin’s trademark creepy atmosphere is missing and the villain’s motivations are really, well, underwhelming. 

 

A number of characters (Andrea Jeremiah, Vinay Rai, Simran, John Vijay, K Bhagyaraj) are functional rather than memorable. 

 

But it does keep the head occupied. The film is a dense, Chinatown-like slow-burn investigation, and it’s fun to see the jigsaw come together. 

 

Verdict : Well build Detective thriller with extraodinary suspense will satisfy our answer at the end of this movie...

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