Revenge without focus is the fulcrum of Thagaraaru (U/A). The sickle-and-scythe culture made out to be synonymous with Madurai is the base of the film. So much so, the beauty and religiosity of the city dotted with exquisite temples go unnoticed. For quite a while the film meanders through a path of romance and robbery before the director actually decides to steer the course of the story to a bloody end. Thagaraaru is about four sagacious thieves. Yet strangely, the men, who plan their heists around the city with admirable intelligence, are senseless and impulsive while tracing the real enemy! Writer-director Ganesh Vinaayac (the spelling is befuddling!) gets himself stuck with a story that isn’t convincing and characters that lack stability.

After some excellent underplay in Mounaguru, Arulnithi’s performance goes for a toss in the romantic scenes of Thagaraaru. In an effort to make him look comedic, Vinaayac manages to make the hero appear absolutely inane. A pathetic attempt at levity! Footwork is still not Arul’s forte, but he makes a mark in the sequences where he’s unable to get over the death of his friend.

It is as though Ganesh has decided that violence has to be the mainstay of Thagaraaru, whether it is warranted or not. So despite a fair share of suspense and twists, the film doesn’t appeal. Plausibility is a casualty at many junctures — heroine Meenakshi’s volte face, for instance. Also, the rich girl’s responses to the thief’s overtures are unbelievable. All the same, it is a strong role and Poorna does a neat job of it.

The strand of friendship among Saravanan, Pazhani, Senthil and Aarumugam running through the warp and weft of the plot is one of those rare redeeming features of Thagaraaru. They are as thick as thieves, literally! In a scenario where gang wars are common and the police force is also hounding them, one of them gets killed and that’s the beginning of the end.

A deserving break for Pawanji (Senthil), who has been hovering in the wings for long! As the protective friend he scores. And be it Sulil Kumar (Pazhani) or Aarumugam (Murugadas), each has a significant part to play. Not often do you see friends of heroes, or for that matter, the heroine in significant roles. Thagaraaru is an exception.

Bringing in whites in a couple of scenes and making them look stupid seem to be the latest trend in our films. It may be an exciting ego trip for frontbenchers, but it is neither funny nor believable.

But for the romantic number (‘Thiruttupaya Pulla’), Dharan’s music, background score included, grates the ear. Thagaraaru is Arulnithi’s fourth film after Vamsam, Udayan and Mounaguru. How could the young hero settle for such a lacklustre script after waiting for nearly two years, particularly after his worthy, much-acclaimed Mounaguru?

Genre: Action

Director: Ganesh Vinaayac

Cast: Arulnithi, Poorna, Pawanji, Sulil Kumar, Murugadas

Storyline: It is about four friends. Thieving is their job, and after a point it is problems galore.

Bottomline: Purposeless violence