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Thambikkottai: A formula film that doesn't work

February 14, 2011 10:58 IST

Pavithra Srinivasan reviews the Tamil film, Thambikkottai. Post YOUR reviews here!

Every once in a while, a good actor suddenly gets bitten by the superstar bug. Narein, who's previously been in movies like Anjadhe, has fallen prey to it too. His latest, R K Films' Thambikkottai, directed by Ammu Ramesh is a formula film that follows every trick in the masala-brigade faithfully. For that very reason, you're tempted to sit through the exercise, reveling in the nostalgia, before the inevitable staleness topples everything flat.

In typical Tamil movie tradition, Azhagiri (Narein, with an interesting name choice) and Shanmuga Priya (Meena, making a come-back, as one of the characters says on-screen) are siblings extraordinaire, as they have only each other. She's a lecturer, possibly the most made-up one in recent times. He is a student who flies in on a motorbike, zooms in and rescues her from tasteless goons in one fell swoop. They live in an impossibly beautiful house filled with luxuries, considering that it's a one-income household, have birthday parties, dress to the nines and cater to all of Azhagiri's friends (Santhanam and Co). So close is the brother-sister duo that even Azhagiri's NSS trip to Thambikkottai proves too much to handle.

Thambikkottai, though, harbours its own brand of viciousness: it has an old, broken bridge and a horrible villain, Amirthalingam (Rajendran) to go with it, who strikes terror into the hearts of its residents (who stay there anyway) and will never let anyone repair the broken bridge. Needless to say, he also has a very pretty daughter Kanaga (Poonam Bajwa), who also happens to be great at studies. Azhagiri and Kanaga meet and fall in love almost at first sight, sing a few songs together before her father's henchmen spot her and all hell breaks loose.

There are some interesting plot-twists arrive here. Azhagiri is beaten up for a change, the lovelorn couple are broken up but Kanaga finds a way to come to Chennai, under the aegis of the neatly cheesy, loud-mouthed, virulently sari-clad Pandiyamma (Sangeetha), who terrorises Chennai with her own band of goondas. She happens to be Amirthalingam's first daughter, of course.

If you can't guess how the rest of the movie plays out, you've no business watching mainstream masala flicks, anyway.

Narein might be playing the stereotypical, punch-dialogue spouting Tamil hero who bashes up a hundred men with bare fists all the time, but he does invest the romantic scenes with a certain sincerity. Sadly, this is not the kind of movie that offers any scope for acting. In the punch-dialogue contest, in fact, he's beaten fair and square by Sangeetha who puts up such a fantastic show with her hitched sari and pan-chewing bravado, that you end up rooting for her.

Poonam Bajwa has precious little to do other than dance in midriff-revealing dresses and pout prettily. She and Meena pretty much share the honours there, although it looks very strange to have a yesteryear bombshell meekly giving away to the next generation. She might be made-up, but Meena definitely scores in the looks department.

Santhanam and M S Bhaskar together pull up the sagging screenplay with their comic antics; they're the reason the movie is even passable. Prabhu makes a tiny cameo and looks dignified. Rajendran and his bunch of villains fulfill every cinema staple. D Iman's music doesn't really make any impression, which isn't surprising.

Sometimes, even formula films work with the right touch of spice. Though Thambikkottai has some cute moments, it doesn't really carry the same momentum.

Rediff Rating: 

Pavithra Srinivasan in Chennai
 

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