Director Nelson and Vijay’s highly anticipated action thriller ‘Beast’ was released for 2022’s Tamil New Year, the largest financial and critical failure for both in the last ten years. Today, the two titans of Tamil cinema (in terms of fanbase) go head to head for Pongal. Ajith Kumar teams up with H. Vinoth once again following their moderate success with ‘Nerkonda Parvai’ and moderate failure with ‘Valimai.’ Now, the duo return with their take on the heist film, ‘Thunivu.’ The film is certainly better than ‘Beast,’ however this is not a difficult task to accomplish.
The film opens with a montage of news announcements, reporting on a scam. Two men holding their guns aloft storm into a millionaire’s Mauritian holiday home shouting, “CBI!” - a practice which apparently the Indian police forces have upheld since the 1980’s. A team is assembled to rob a bank, headed by actor Veera, who encounter trouble in the form of one of the hostages, a mystery man played by Ajith Kumar. We then are treated to an unspectacular action sequence with firing guns aplenty and minimal action choreography. Despite the many flaws of ‘Beast’, Vijay’s opening action block was well choreographed, albeit over-the-top.
The plot is then filled with various twists and turns, which it pulls off with relative success. The biggest drawback of the film is that despite all the content for a stylish heist caper, the film technically is not stylish at all. Instead, it depends on its lead to shoulder the burden of carrying the film, which Ajith does to the best of his ability. Two shots which stick in my mind are during a boat chase scene, both of which track a boat to its target some distance away. Both shots are unnecessarily lengthy, not particularly interesting and are followed by a strange editing choice. This sums up the technical aspects for ‘Thunivu,’ leading to a visually dull experience.
Ajith Kumar plays his role with ease, playing a watered down variant of his last great part with ‘Mankatha’ anti-hero Vinayak Mahadev. Veera is an actor I am surprised does not land more roles - he can act and has a natural screen presence and gravitas. Samuthirakanni and Manju Warrier round off the remainder of the main cast. The primary issue with most of the characters is they feel underwritten. Bagavathi Perumal as Rajesh - a character artist who seems to prove himself in every role onscreen - and Mohana Sundaram as Mai Pa are the two characters who felt most convincing.
Ghibran’s score felt uninspired. It is the music director’s fiftieth outing, and unfortunately neither the songs or background score are up to scratch. “Chilla Chilla”, “Kasethan Kadavulada” and “Gangstaa” are all forgettable tracks. Ghibran had a promising start to his career, with great scores for films ‘Vaagai Sooda Vaa’, ‘Uttama Villain’ and ‘Thoonga Vanam’; he unfortunately seems to have petered out in quality output.
Overall, ‘Thunivu’ does the bare minimum to ensure a better product than ‘Beast.’ However, the film comes nowhere near the resounding success of 2011’s Venkat Prabhu starrer ‘Mankatha.’ The film makes a safe bet, contradicting its own tagline - ‘No guts, no glory.’
Krishna's rating: 2.5 stars
Official trailer for the film below.