Movie Review: Thuppakki (Telugu)

Cast: Vijay, Kajal Aggarwal and Vidyut Jamwal

Direction: A.R. Murugadoss

Music: Harris Jayaraj

Plot: A military officer attempts to hunt down a terrorist, and the two unleash a chain of mind games.

Bottomline: A taut thriller that comes from a good team.

Bring together an enviable team like director A.R. Murugadoss, cinematographer Santosh Sivan, actor Vijay and editor Sreekar Prasad and what you get is a slick action thriller. Thuppakki, in one line, has a military officer hunting down a terrorist in a bid to de-activate a massive network of sleeper cell terrorists in Mumbai.

Jagdish (Vijay) is among a battalion of military officers that comes to Mumbai on vacation. Jagdish is also a secret Defence Intelligence Agent who cannot lie low, much to the irritation of his friend and sub inspector Sathyan. During a bus ride, an attempt to frisk passengers for a lost wallet leads Jagdish to something much bigger. Within minutes, the bus is blown into pieces and Jagdish helps cops nab the carrier of the bomb, who escapes from the hospital only to be caught by Jagdish again. Using tact, Jagdish follows one clue at a time hoping to track down the terrorist on whose orders the sleeper cell terrorists plan to cause mayhem in Mumbai.

The terrorist (Vidyut Jamwal) is not an easy man to trap. Realising someone outside of the police force is on his trail, Vidyut plays the game equally well. The cat and mouse game continues till the final confrontation.

In between all this, there’s the yes-no-yes-no romance between Jagdish and Nisha (Kajal Agarwal), with some hindrance coming in the form of actor Jayaram, a senior military officer. Murugadoss tries to weave in romance within the action thriller but in some places, the scenes end up like a sore thumb. Also, randomly placed song sequences slow down the pace of the film.

Why doesn’t a military officer take the help of Mumbai police, barring his friend who is just an S.I? And how do Vijay’s peers, who get involved in a well coordinated hunt for the terrorists, not think of reporting the fear of a larger enemy to the cops? Questions like these remain. In the end, what works for Thuppakki is a talented team that rises above the loopholes to present an engaging entertainer.

Vijay is in good form, coming up with a mature and restrained performance where required. He is in his elements in the dance sequences and proves he is one of the best dancers in South Indian cinema, yet again. Kajal Agarwal does the bubbly girl act that’s required of her quite well.

Cinematographer Santosh Sivan and editor Sreekar Prasad are a big asset to Thuppakki. Santosh Sivan and team do a commendable job in the crowded alleys of Mumbai, especially in the pre-interval scene where Vijay and his 11 associates close in on 12 sleeper cell terrorists. Even in simple shots, Sivan’s camera works its magic, gently playing with light and shadow, or adding a warm glow of sunshine with much élan. Sreekar Prasad’s editing gives the film the required pace in the crucial scenes. The songs (composed by Harris Jayaraj) are found wanting, in comparison with the originals in Tamil.

One of the first promos of the film, with snapshots of Mumbai, lurking terror, the antagonist threatening Vijay to which he responds ‘I am waiting’ went viral on social networks. The wait, clearly, has been worth it for the audience. And the man who’s probably having the last laugh is Murugadoss.

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