Thilagar: Lots of fight, little punch

Thilagar is filled with so much violence that even a review of the film must come with an adult certification. With the amount of blood spilled, heads severed and buildings bombed, there’s enough violence to scar an unwitting viewer for life. Sample this: When Thilagar (Dhruva) wants to avenge a murder, he not only stabs the murderers several times, but also decapitates them, bags the severed heads and burns them… only to scatter the ashes on fellow villagers to a hero’s welcome.

The film is yet another revenge saga set on the banks of the Thamirabharani, in a village where education comes second to family honour and caste. So when Bose Pandian (Kishore) proudly salutes a relative for having become a police officer, we see signs of things changing for the better. Considering he has helped his brother Thilagar become an engineer too, we feel the sense of a progressive film. So far, so good.

Genre: Action drama
Director: Perumal Pillai
Cast: Kishore, Dhruva, Mrudula Bhaskar, Ukira Pandian
Storyline: A timid man is pushed to stand up against injustice

If Bose represents machismo, this timid younger brother is in the mould of a coward. In fact, when Thilagar sees a pretty girl on a bus, it is she who winks at him. Later, when he takes a bath in a temple pond, it is this very girl who comes to his rescue, returning his lungi as it floats away.

However, matters take a sudden turn into Thevar Magan territory as the shy Thilagar turns into a mass action hero. He no longer has time for love, happiness or even a shave for that matter. For a film that seemed to promote education, it comes as a rude shock when its educated, timid protagonist takes the law into his own hands at the first opportunity. It isn’t just him; a police officer, does the same.

It isn’t just these ideological problems though. For a film spotted with so much violence, Thilagar sorely lacks energy. This has to do, in part, with the snail-paced manner in which its major scenes play out. The film doesn’t even end in a satisfying manner, choosing instead ‘a message ending’. Even the ceremonial item number, featuring Neetu Chandra, hardly makes an impact. In its own way, it sums up the film — a lot of gun powder, no explosion.

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Printable version | May 9, 2021 2:09:15 PM |

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