Disclaimer: The review contains spoiler (but seriously, I don’t think there is anything to spoil in this movie)
What’s the probability of writing about the same movie within a span of a year? There are a lot of old movies that get rehashed every time. For example, Enga Veetu Pillai (Ramudu Bheemadu is the original) is one such movie when it comes to dual roles. In the cop movie series, Chathriyan is the one that gets rehashed quite often. I am not mad at directors because it’s a brilliant script by Mani Ratnam directed by his assistant Subash that got released 26 years back. It was a landmark movie for Vijayakanth and had an amazing score from Ilaiyaraaja.
Last year, Gautam Menon adapted it (I do not know if he will accept) but Tamil movie buffs can clearly see the inspiration. Yennai Arindhaal was a worthy adaptation and a tribute to Chatriyan whereas Theri is a distressing attempt to recreate the magic.
I do not know where to start on what is bad. The biggest problem of Theri is the way Atlee conceived the movie. I used to reiterate in my reviews on how important is the conflict in a movie. Atlee decides to show it to you only at the intermission. The second problem is the characterisation of Vijay. He is rather a self styled vigilante who uses his position to guard himself rather than a self-righteous police officer. In fact, the conflict happens because he boasts his vigilantism to the villain (and nothing else). That’s how stupid it can get.
Vijay’s tired and stereotypical acting is so painful to watch that you wish the movie never happened. The movie is agonisingly predictable that you can say what’s going to come up with your closed eyes. You have the heroine (Samantha) fall for the hero at the first instance because he is a do-gooder. You have four hero introduction style mass (?) scenes out of which in three you have a vehicle drifting. You have a second heroine (Amy Jackson in a forgettable role) who finds the truth about the hero. You have a cute little daughter who acts more than her age. You have scenes in which children clapping for the hero when he doles out vigilante justice. You have a sidekick whose only job is to praise the hero. Last but not the least, the hero shouts “Nee amabalaya irundha en ponnu mela kai vachu paaruda” (Harm my child, if you are a man). Immediately, the henchman leaves the child, second heroine and the sidekick to attack the hero who is tied up. Even 90s director wouldn’t do the same scene if they have to make a movie now. My heart skipped a beat when the hero started lecturing the villain.
The only good thing about the movie is the cuteness of Nainika. She takes the looks and acting from her mother (Meena). She nails her role to perfection although it was another typecast role. I wish she gets movies like what Shalini and Shamili did as child actors. Although Mahendran did a good job, I could see only Thilagan (Arumai nayagam from Chathriyan) instead of Mahendran. Except for Jithu Jilladi, GV Prakash’s music is lacklustre. Eeena Meena Deeka sounds eerily similar to Mera Joota Hai Japani while Chella Kutti’s pallavi sounds similar to Sippi Irukkuthu and he is still in Raja Rani hangover in his background score.
Theri is intolerably boring because the premise is beaten down to earth. Atlee was smart when he rehashed Mouna Ragam for his Raja Rani (I still had issues with it) but he was a promising director. Theri is a pathetic adaptation of another Mani Ratnam premise that shows the immaturity of a young director. I hope Atlee changes path soon.
Watch Theri if you are Vijay fan, you might say it’s a mass masala movie but give it a thought on how you want to look at your favourite star. Honestly, if this is what you want to see, you deserve a Theri. It’s the same for Ajith fans when they celebrated Vedalam. If you are just a Tamil movie fan, watch Theri if you don’t have anything else to do (you can also watch Chatriyan).
A 1.5/5 for Atlee’s Theri and if you come out of the theatre without yawning, good for you.
I saw a lot of kids watching the movie today with their parents. Every time, Vijay gave out vigilante justice, the kids were shouting and enjoying those scenes. It was so disturbing to see. Will write another post on censorship and kids.