Deiva Thirumagal (Godly Daughter)
Director: A L Vijay
Cast: Vikram, Anushka Shetty, Amala Paul, Baby Sara, Nasser, Sachin Khedekar, Santhanam, Y.G. Mahendran
Indian cinema is well known for remixes and remakes. So many Hindi films copy Hollywood movies that are in turn reproduced in other Indian languages. Sean Penn-Michelle Pfeiffer starrer I Am Sam became Main Aisa Hi Hoon in Hindi with Ajay Devgn playing the mentally handicapped father of the original version.
We now have the Tamil adaptation, Deiva Thirumagal (Godly Daughter), with Vikram essaying a man with the IQ of a five or six-year-old child. Vikram, who has been specialising in out-of-the-ordinary roles (as mentally impaired in Sethu, as a blind guy in Kasi and so on) does infuse a degree of authenticity into his character, Krishna. But then he seemed far more convincing playing the villainous Veera in Mani Ratnam’s Raavanan.
In what is seen as a disappointment, the AL Vijay-written and directed Deiva Thirumagal goes overboard with its emotions. Often, one is left feeling that lines and sequences have all been scripted to get audiences into the tear mode. Which I Am Sam scrupulously avoided. Let us not even talk about the Hindi edition; it was awfully messy.
“Deiva Thirumagal” takes a long time, almost 90 minutes, to introduce us to its main theme, a custody battle that Krishna is made to fight by a first-time lawyer, Anuradha Ragunathan (Anushka Shetty), for his baby daughter, Nila (Sara). On the other end of courtroom is Nila’s extremely wealthy-industrialist grandfather, desperately seeking to better a motherless Nila’s life, help her become a doctor. Handling the prosecution is a stony faced lawyer, Bashyam (Nasser), who has never lost a case. So, we are told again and again.
The movie throws up more questions than what it cares to answer: why would the daughter of a rich entrepreneur marry a child trapped in a man’s body? Why would Anuradha agree to fight Krishna’s case – with no fee and against a powerful advocate and his extremely well-to-do client? The reasons seem, at best, flimsy.
The first half of the film takes us to Krishna’s idyllic existence as a chocolate factory employee in a hill town where a kind owner and a band of mentally challenged co-workers chip in to keep the father-daughter duo happy. Though the Krishna-Nila relationship is handled with wonderful sensitivity, this part stretches to an almost breaking point before the actual drama begins.
Fairly easy performances by most of the cast help the film to stay afloat, despite Santhnam (as a junior lawyer Vinod) trying his best to torpedo the ship with a humour that can only be described as juvenile. Any takers for these jokes?