‘Theerppu’ movie review: A done-to-death revenge story with a shallow topping of politics and history

Scriptwriter Murali Gopi, director Rathish Ambat and actor Prithviraj Sukumaran serve up a limp attempt which seems to appear politically-intelligent, but without actually taking a stand anywhere

August 25, 2022 05:02 pm | Updated 05:25 pm IST

A still from ‘Theerppu’

A still from ‘Theerppu’

History is employed in quite a number of ways in Theerppu, from pushing a political point to eliciting a few laughs. Scriptwriter Murali Gopi and director Rathish Ambat had shown their interest in history, and the rewriting of it, in their previous venture Kammarasambhavam. Yet, as the film proceeds, one gets the gnawing feeling that all these historical references are aimed at covering up for all that is lacking in the script, which at its core, is a done-to-death revenge story.

In Theerppu too, there is much erasure and manufacturing of history by Ram Kumar (Vijay Babu), owner of a resort chain, who decks up his resorts with historical artefacts, most of which turn out to be fake. Mythili (Isha Talwar), his business partner and wife, is not exactly happy with his ways. Parameswaran Potty (Saiju Kurup), Ram's old friend, whose business is in doldrums, arrives at the resort with his wife to seek some investment to save their company. Some uncomfortable truths from the past come back to haunt Ram, with the arrival of Abdulla Marakkar (Prithviraj Sukumaran).

Theerppu
Director: Rathish Ambat
Cast: Prithviraj Sukumaran, Vijay Babu, Isha Talwar, Saiju Kurup

Much of the film revolves around events from a few decades back. In addition to a lengthy flashback block, the script keeps returning to the events from the early 1990s, which have a bearing on the present, becoming a cause for a revenge. Although there is no doubt as to where the film stands regarding the revenge story, the same cannot be said about the political or historical references. The politics here is a mishmash, jumping from Russia to Germany to present-day India, with a few passing comments dedicated to each. The attempt seems to appear politically-intelligent, without actually taking a stand anywhere.

Parallel to the happenings at the resort, the script also spends considerable time to show the preparations for a rally of a right-wing political party. Even an entire song sequence is shot at the rally. But other than the presence of the resort caretaker at the rally and DIG Kalyan (Indrajith Sukumaran)'s manoeuvres ahead of it, the rally has hardly anything to do with the main storyline, and serves merely as a distraction.

Quite a few of the sequences at the resort, and in the flashback, are overly dramatic, with the dialogue delivery of some of the characters adding to this. Towards the end, the film makes a sudden shift to a satirical tone, but this really does not fit well with the mood till then.

With several films being churned out with an eye on the streaming market, one of the jokes in the industry is about the films which are made quickly within the limited space of a room or a resort, and having no content worth speaking about. Theerppu comes perilously close to living up to that joke.  

Theerppu is currently running in theatres

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