After a successful Diwali release in the likes of the action thriller flick Kaithi actor Karthi is back on screens with the family action thriller Thambi. This entertainer also marks the first time association of Karthi with his sister in law and actress Jyotika. Film maker Jeethu Joseph who stormed in to Kollywood with Papanasam, the remake of his hit Malayalam family crime thriller Drishyam, has once again chose to craft an emotional family thriller. For people who have had the opportunity to watch Papanasam will know exactly what to expect of Thambi. But clearly his latest is not as gripping as his previous entertainer. However, the film has its fair share of Jeethu Joseph’s adept twists and keeps you in suspense till the very end.
Gnanamoorthy (Sathyaraj) is a politician and an influential man in the Gudalur constituency in Tamilnadu. In spite of being powerful and rich sadness persists in his family. In a tragic incident that took place a long time ago, his younger son Saravanan (Karthi) goes missing. After his sudden disappearance the happiness in the family fades away and they just exist by doing day to day activities. In particular, Saravanan’s disappearance distresses Gnanamoorthy’s eldest daughter Parvathi (Jyotika), who isolates herself totally and avoids opening up with others. Nearly a decade and half passes over but still the family believes that Saravanan is alive somewhere and that he would return home to see them some day. Seeing his daughter, wife (Seetha) and mother (Sowcar Janaki) in the dejected state for so long even Gnanamoorthy breaks and so his political career.
Meanwhile, a cop in Goa identifies Vicky, a swindler and a tourist guide as Saravanan and rings up Gnanamoorthy to inform this. Vicky jumps forthright on the opportunity to make money and agrees to travel with Gnanamoorthy. Gnanamoorthy travels all the way to Goa and without any cross verification he brings Vicky/Saravanan to Gudalur hoping to see his family members happy again. Saravanan receives a warm welcome from his mother and his childhood love Sanjana (Nikhila Vimal). Later he learns that Gnanamoorthy is a very wealthy man with over 1000 acres of tea estate. Now, he begins to concoct a devious plan to bring all these properties under his name.
So he works hard to win over everyone in the family. And in no time he succeeds in getting along with almost everyone in the family so well. But he faces difficulty to win over his sister Parvathi who is very upset with him for leaving home without saying anything even to her as she cared for him like a mother. Eventually, he convinces her and makes her to open up with him. When he feels he has convinced everyone in the family, his grandmother senses foul play but is unable to communicate it to the rest of the family members. Meanwhile, he receives death threat from an unknown person. Is he an imposter or is he the real Saravanan, who wants him dead and what made him leave home, is what makes the rest of the movie.
Just like Papanasam the film maker builds up the stage for the ultimate show towards the end of the entertainer. Slowly and steadily he keeps putting the knots one after the other and keeps us in suspense and speculation. But unlike Papanasam, his latest venture is dearth of the gripping emotional dosage of the family sentiment that held the family members together in Papanasam and was also the reason for audience to root for them. At few moments the family sentiment crosses over the authentic emotional zone and infiltrates in to the melodramatic zone hindering the audience to connect with the characters. Also, few initial family sequences of the film are heavy patience testers.
Actor Karthi has handled the character switch with elegance though his portions in Goa seem like a little tuned up version of his rocket Raja role in Siruthai. Actress Jyothika who shared the screen for the first with Karthi has displayed a fine performance. The role partially reminds us of her role in Mozhi. Sathyaraj is a fitting choice for the father’s character and director Jeethu Joseph uses the sarcastic performance of him to perfection. Actress Nikhila Vimal does not have much scope nor screen time but has delivered what was asked of her. Veteran actress Sowcar Janaki scores in the limited screen space allotted to her. The rest of the cast has delivered adequate performances.
On the technical front, cinematographer R. D. Rajasekhar’s frames have captured the ethnic beauty of the hilly region so well. Something we had witnessed in Papanasam as well. R. D. Rajasekhar’s work is further complimented well by editor V. S. Vinayak sharp cuts. Musician Govind Vasantha’s background score has elevated the emotional portions and has stimulated the suspense portions well.
On the whole, Thambi is a fine thriller but fails to create the stirring experience that Papanasam created in us.