Thegidi (Deception) is one of the better Tamil films I have seen in recent months. A murder mystery, the movie is not as thrilling as one would expect a work in this genre to be. Its pace is languorous, and the plot unfolds in a deliberate rhythm. It is certainly novel in that sense, for we are used to films of this sort keeping us on the edge of our seats and taking us to nail-biting climaxes. Thegidi offers little thrill, and there is no chill to creep down the spine. In fact, even the suspense is gone before the final reels roll on.
Direction: P Ramesh
Cast: Ashok Selvan, Janani Iyer, Jayaprakash
Running time: 126 minutes
The film is about a man, Vetri (Ashok Selvan) from Thanjavur who masters with a degree in criminology and becomes a sleuth in a Chennai detective agency. Thegidi, while pointing out to his exceptional ability for observation (there is a remarkable scene in his classroom that conveys this), falters -- and does not tell us why he misses out on the obvious in his firm. And is it not the cardinal rule of a detective to remain as unobtrusive as possible when he is following a suspect or one who is under surveillance for whatever reason? Yet, Vetri is often seen driving a big almost flashy car, though he is otherwise modestly dressed.
Ironically, all the three men Vetri is asked to follow and gather facts about die in unnatural circumstances. One falls to his death from a construction site. One drowns in a river, and the third is run over by a car. Vetri’s fourth case involves a woman, Madhushree (Janani Iyer), and he, despite a stricture against it, falls in love with her, and fears that she would die as well.
Curiously, Ramesh’s detective is no Sherlock Holmes or Hercule Poirot. Vetri, for reasons that fox me, appears nervous and ill at ease, a clear case of miscasting here. Selvan is wooden and a huge disappointment in a movie that could have been otherwise a couple of shades better. Iyer has a very limited part, and she does fair justice to that.
Another, point that pulls the film down is the music, and like most Indian directors, Ramesh allows that to be intrusively irritating. Only very few understand the effectiveness of silence in effectively pushing a narrative.
Admittedly, I have gone with three stars here, because Thegidi is a novel attempt at telling a murder story and in a very different kind of way, minus the pulse-pounding twists and turns that one usually associates with mysteries. Rather, Thegidi is beautifully controlled and scripted with a sense of stillness.
However, Thegidi is certainly not for those seeking a rollercoaster ride through car chases, fistfights and Bondish exploits.