Review Reviews

'Thippara Meesam' review: An interesting story let down by a meandering narrative

Sree Vishnu in a still from the film   | Photo Credit: By arrangement

In the film’s opening sequence, the protagonist receives severe blows at a police station. As his reaction is recorded, his beard and moustache are being shaved off in a bid to nullify his machismo image implied by the title Thippara Meesam (twirl the moustache). In flashes, we are shown what kind of person he is and the situation he has landed himself in.

Mani Shankar (Sree Vishnu) twirls his moustache before getting into a tussle. He’s not the usual action hero fending off a dozen people in stylised, choreographed stunts. He does take on people — whether underwater in a swimming pool or in a forest area — not only out of anger but when he’s locked in a game, for money.

The narrative unfolds gradually, oscillating between black and white segments and the yellow-orange hues of warm night lights in street corners. There’s going to be action, crime and drama involving a protagonist for whom we may have little or no empathy. Clearly money makes his world go around.

Known to choose stories and parts that slightly veer off the conventional route (like the recent Brochevarevarura and Needi Naadi Oke Katha) Sree Vishnu pushes it further with Thippara Meesam. He picks up a dark character that isn’t portrayed like a hero (director Krishna Vijay needs to be appreciated for that) and enacts it like he’s known someone like Mani quite closely.

Thippara Meesam
  • Cast: Sree Vishnu, Rohini and Nikki Tamboli
  • Direction: Krishna Vijay
  • Music: Suresh Bobbili

Mani is a DJ. Within the nightclub, surrounded by revellers, loud music and drinks, he tries to stave off his own loneliness. He doesn’t go back to a loving family. He doesn’t want to, even if he has a doting mother (Rohini), a sister and an uncle (Banerjee) who would welcome him if he were to mellow down.

Along with Sree Vishnu, the other pillar of strength for the film is Rohini. She might have played the doting mother a hundred times before, but here, her pain and helplessness are palpable to the extent that you want to comfort her and tell her that her son’s behaviour isn’t her fault. The two characters are antithesis to one another. She’s the breadwinner of the family after her husband’s demise (a fleeting glimpse of actor Raghuvaran in a photograph), is known for her kindness and straightforward nature, and is a national award winning writer. He, however, stares at a bottomless pit after being embroiled in drugs, betting and illegal games to pay off mounting debts.

The darkness in Mani’s surroundings is an extension of the strained bond between the mother and the son. He brightens up when he meets Monika (Nikki Tamboli). She’s the reason he embraces daylight. But with all that he’s up against, it’s never going to be easy.

The threadbare story is of a mother and her son, and the makers narrate it like a dark, grungy tale. The pre-interval sequence shows the protagonist slip into an abyss a la Arjun Reddy.

Thippara Meesam has an interesting story but takes too long to tie up the different threads into a cohesive narrative. I also wish the women hadn’t been shown to empathise so much with an almost debauched protagonist. If the mother hadn’t selflessly given to the point of erring, it might have been a different story. And Nikki, as the new police officer, could have been a character with more bite.

Despite Sree Vishnu’s effective performance and some notable flourishes by cinematographer Sid and music composer Suresh Bobbili, Thippara Meesam ends up as an overstretched saga.

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Printable version | Jan 16, 2022 1:16:28 PM |

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