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‘Tik Tik Tik’ review: a simplistic space flick

A still from ‘Tik Tik Tik’

A still from ‘Tik Tik Tik’   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

A ‘Make in India’ space film that’s as simplistic as it is ambitious

There’s a scene in Shakti Soundar Rajan’s Tik Tik Tik, where a hacker inspects his space suit after he is recruited for a mission to nuke an asteroid headed towards the Earth. On a closer look, he finds a ‘Made in India’ label attached to the suit and starts panicking, worried if it’s good enough to survive space exploration.

Come to think of it, it’s pretty much the same fear one has when one steps into Tik Tik Tik, billed to be India’s first space movie. Given the limitations of Tamil cinema, in terms of budget and time, can we really pull off an ‘out of the world’ sci-fi film?

Going by the Jayam Ravi-starrer, one can only leave the theatre unsure.

It’s a monumentally ambitious film that tries to cram in the complexities of geopolitical warfare, a heist thriller and a sci-fi space story into one film. Yet, there’s an effort to simplify almost every little detail, making it difficult for us to take the film seriously. Do you want to hack into a sophisticated Chinese (though the words China and Chinese have been censored throughout) space station? Well, then just attach a pen drive-like gizmo onto one of its ‘USB’ ports and voila, we’re in.

Tik Tik Tik
  • Genre: Science fiction
  • Director: Shakti Soundar Rajan
  • Cast: Jayam Ravi, Nivetha Pethuraj, Jayaprakash
  • Storyline: A petty criminal joins the Indian government to save the country from an asteroid collision

And if you’re looking for a way to cut a space ship’s fuel line, it’s simple. Just cut the only red and green wires that stick out. It also takes a lot of suspension of disbelief to accept how a space mission can take place without a single astronaut in it.

It’s easier to appreciate Tik Tik Tik when you start seeing it as a film that’s meant to be the typical Tamil mass film, which just happened to be set in outer space. It’s more an ‘Introduction-to-Science-Fiction’ film that works better for those whose dial-up connection was a bit too slow to download the dubbed version of 1998’s Armageddon.

So what really can you do with a Rolls-Royce-like vision when all you can afford is a Maruti 800? Maybe start by making the little things special. Despite the film’s best efforts at grandeur, with its shaky CGI capabilities, one of the few things that really comes through is the father-son human drama at the core of it. Call it clever casting, but it really works for the film when we know that the protagonist’s reel son is being played by his real son. What also worked was how there are no superfluous songs or the unnecessary love track.

Unfortunately, it’s a film that chooses grandeur over intimacy, and suffers as a result. It forgets that it’s easier for the audience to relate to saving one’s son than saving four crore people.

Tik Tik Tik does manage to do a lot, given its limitations, but there’s a long way to go for it to truly take off.

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Printable version | Jul 14, 2020 7:16:09 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/movies/tik-tik-tik-review-a-simplistic-space-flick/article24231878.ece

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