Tamil cinema film maker’s attention has been on the South Korean film industry for a while, and now we have an official acknowledgment to it. Theal is inspired from South Korean flick Pieta. Story teller Hari Kumar genuinely gives the credit where it is due. Actor Prabhu Deva who was last seen in the action thriller Pon Manickavel is back on screen with Theal. The entertainer is about what hope and a shot to better life does to a ruthless person when an opportunity hits his life in an unexpected way. So, how has the film come out? Will it be a successful venture for the actor and the director who has returned to directing after a long time? To know that let us get in to the movie review.
The entertainer follows the life of Durai (Prabhu Deva), a ruthless young man who would do anything to keep his pockets filled. The film is set at the backdrop of Koyambedu where the hard-working people are tormented by callous moneylenders. Durai get things done – whether kicking a defaulter, or removing a part of them – for one such loan shark Paulraj (Shatru). There is no moral line for him when it comes to his job. Not even the debtor’s cry for mercy would move him. When he is not hitting people or collecting money, he comes around leisurely with his friend Tiger (Yogi Babu). We hear you! Of course, he has a love interest Thilaka (Samyuktha Hegde), a bar dancer. In an unexpected turn of events, a woman (Easwari Rao) walks in to his home and claims that she is her mother. Durai reacts in the way he is so used to. He treats her rudely in an inhumane manner. But she refuses to give up on him.
As days pass, slowly, Durai’s baser tendency mitigates and he becomes soft on the woman and with people while collecting the debt. Suddenly, a sense of guilt enfolds him and his line of business does not look good to him. He desires to change the way things work in the locality. But that would place him against the wicked lenders of the area. Will Durai give up being a henchman, will he change the way the system operates, can he outdo the influential immoral men, is what makes the rest of the flick.
Suddenly, everybody in Tamil cinema wants to do films that discuss human emotions. Story teller Hari Kumar is the latest to join that club. Director Hari Kumar makes a comeback with an interesting choice of film. A South Korean flick. The very tone of it sounds pleasant. A violent man putting an end to his belligerent side and seeking to be a righteous man is the essence of the drama. From MGR’S Kudiyirundha Koyil to the recent Vijay’s Master the theme has been tried and tested more than enough. The subject that the drama aims to delve in to is not something new to Tami cinema. But how it is done is. It is not the dropping the dagger moment after a melodramatic lecture that makes Theal. But the pragmatic approach that it attempts to sell. The first place the drama scores is how it shapes its main characters. The character arc of Durai and his alleged mother is well sketched. So are the portions between them.
The way Durai is introduced to us is staged in an exceptional manner – a typical Hollywood-esque style. It is not in the cliched backstory style or someone narrating it to us. But taking us in to the world of the character and giving us a look at the day-to-day life of the character. We see Durai is a man of less words, he gets up every day, go thrash people, come home to the empty and messy apartment of his, open a beer and tune in to some wildlife show, go to bed, repeat. When a woman claiming to be his mother enters his world of emptiness, his life is disrupted for the good. To be fair, director Hari Kumar deserves credit for his effort to set his movie up on a philosophical journey rather than being a blender of mass and dramatic entertainer. He has done that well in parts. But after a point he could not help but derail and get to the regular commercial grandiose that most film makers of Tamil cinema find difficult to ditch.
Actor Prabhu Deva is a perfect fit for Durai. He handles the rogue nature of the character effortlessly and the softer version of it effectively. Actress Samyuktha Hegde plays a filler role to jam up the heroin part. She does it efficiently. Actress Easwari Rao as usual allure us with her performance. Actor G. Marimuthu is functional. Actor Shatru is adequate. Comedian Yogi Babu and Imman Annachi entertain us inconsistently. The rest of the cast has delivered what was asked of them.
On the technical front, musician C. Sathya’s tracks are lackluster while his background scores aid in enhancing the grim and calm moments. Cinematographer Vignesh Vasu’s frames should have been better. Editor Praveen K. L has hastened the drama with his sharp cuts.
On the whole, Theal has an interesting underlying element that it wants to explore but the nuances that it misses brands it as an ambitious attempt.