Thaana Serndha Koottam movie review: Suriya makes Special 26 remake his own
Thaana Serndha KoottamDirector: Vignesh ShivnCast: Suriya, Keerthy Suresh, Ramya Krishnan, Kalaiarasan, Nandha, Senthil, Sathyan, Sivasankar, RJ Balaji, Thambi RamaiahStar rating: 3/5It would be unfair to call Thaana Serndha Koottam the remake of Akshay Kumar-starrer Special 26. This is Special 26 the way only Tamil cinema could have done it – with romance, drama and back story, all rolled into a heist film.
Suriya as Nachinarkuiniyan aka Iniyan rises above the expectations of what one has come to expect from the star on screen. He is seen making fun of himself and turns what others consider his weakness, his height, into an advantage.
And, he is ready to make space for the script. For this is what director Vignesh Shivn has done in the film as it begins – a slot usually reserved to wax eloquent about the hero and afford him a grand entry. Caught in a web of corruption and mediocrity are three people -- RJ Balaji who is looking for a job, Kalaiarasan as a police aspirant and Thambi Ramaiah trying to get his son (Iniyan) a job in the Central Bureau of Investigation. This dialogue sums up their situation, “People who are capable are nowhere to be found, but people who have no ability are in high positions.”
Not that the demands of Suriya’s fans are not met. Shivn manages to balance fan expectations and demands of the script beautifully. The song, Sodakku, feels like it is an ode to this hero worship. The climax too is about indulging the fans - the added drama and action that befits Suriya’s star status. The monologue about how corruption in the employment sector affects citizens is powerful as well. The underlying humour though is director Vignesh Shivn’s signature style. Throughout the film, it is the understated sarcasm that wins audience over.
For example, when Iniyan and team are set to interview a group of people, we hear the names Paneer Selvam, Vijaykanth, Prabhakaran and Sasikala -- all of whom talk about fighting corruption in the society. The irony is not lost on us. The comments by RJ Balaji as Pallavaram Paranjothi Pandian about local beverages being replaced by foreign ones and higher taxes on movie tickets are topical.
Ramya Krishnan as Azhagu Meena, Sethil as KP, Sivasankar as Ondiveeran, Nandu as Vetrivel and Sathyan form the core group that works on the heists. We have two men around whom the film revolves -- a bad man, and a good man who does bad things. The villain is played by Suresh Menon. He is a corrupt official called Uthaman, and then there is Iniyan who as a victim of corruption decided to fight back.
Then we have Karthik as the CBI investigator, Kurunjivendhan, who is a ruthless officer and believes harsher punishment negates the chances of the crime being repeated.
Set in 1987, the film is based on the real events of the Mumbai’s Opera House heist. The film manages to capture the era perfectly – the rotary phones, radio, Ambassador cars, and, of course, Kamal Haasan’s movie Nayagan posters in the background.
The film also manages to capture the spirit of the era by using ‘pazhamozhi’ (idioms) that have gone out of usage but invoke the era gone by when said: “Oyara oyara parandhalum kuruvi kuruvi than parandhu parandhu dhan (However high a sparrow flies, it can never become a hawk).” The flavor of this is so local that you can actually taste it.
This brings us to the fact that the film is a remake, or as the filmmakers insist – is based on a Hindi film. Making a remake does tempt audiences to draw comparisons, especially if one has seen the original. Vignesh Shivn’s refreshing character sketches and screenplay that has adapted the story for his audience has left no space for comparison. He has made the concept his own and has done justice to it. For example, to cast Ramya Krishnan in a role that Anupam Kher had done originally was creative.
The flashback is an addition by Vignesh, and it would be fair to say that this part is the heart of the story. It explains what follows beautifully.
Enge Endru Povathu is the song that signifies the turning point in the film. Anirudh has yet again managed to deliver a successful album for Vignesh Shivn. This song, especially is shot beautifully and as the song proceeds you think you know where the film is headed. The surprise that the director has thrown here breaks the cliché. By adding this bit, Vignesh has given the film an emotional tone, which is sure to satisfy not just fans of Suriya but audiences at large.
The cinematography by Dinesh is vibrant and fits the time period, especially the way Sodakku is shot.
It would have been wonderful to see more of Keerthi Suresh, who plays the role of Madhu. Her character begins well but as the story unfolds it feels like she is left behind - a loose end.