Thavasi has Vijaykanth repeating his act
There is a scene in a movie where some guys are shooting in a palatial bungalow. One of the inmates goes up to the film crowd and asks for a role -- "Any role will do, but I am best for playing the head of some village panchayat," he says.
Sorry, says the film type, there is no panchayat scene in this film.
The aspirant walks off, shaking his head and muttering, "What, no panchayat scene in a Tamil movie? They are taking a very big risk!"
That little bit of byplay was meant in a lighter vein -- but Vijaykant is not laughing, unless it is all the way to the bank. The last few years have seen a spate of films with the swarthy actor playing the nattaamai (feudal landlord) -- enough practice to make him pitch-perfect.
Thavasi, the film under review, is -- how do we put it? -- more practice as Vijaykanth, the one-man advertisement for panchayati raj, struts his stuff yet again.
Vijaykanth senior, the one with the white streaks brushed into his hair, is the landlord -- upright, rigidly honest man whose word is law. So when the temple jewels go missing and Vijaykanth suspects a young man (Shriman) of theft, that suspicion is enough to damn the youth in the
eyes of the village.
The youth commits suicide.
A while later, someone else ups and confesses to the crime. Vijaykanth's rival in chief (played by Nasser) comes up with the question: If the landlord's word caused the death of a young man, should he then be above the law? Should he not have to pay a price?
The upright landlord, of course, pays -- by announcing that from that day on, his own son (also played by Vijaykanth) would live in the house of the dead youth, as his replacement. King Solomon would have applauded -- as far as the characters here are concerned. Vijaykanth's mother is upset, the
villagers are bemused, the dead youth's mother less than impressed and Nasser gleeful.
Matters progress from one imbroglio to another until finally, everything is cleared up -- and it turns out that the elder Vijaykanth did not cause the death of the youth. This, in turn, means that his son can now return to his own home and life. And Nasser is repaid for the evil he has done. Patient love triumphs. And... never mind, you get the gist!
Besides the two Vijaykanths, the cast comprises Jayasudha as the sweet, supportive wife of the elder
Vijaykanth and Soundarya as the fiancee of the younger one. Vadivelu provides comic relief, Nasser weighs in with the villainy.
Trouble is, everyone of them have gone through the selfsame motions so often in the past that they seem to sleepwalk through this film, doing their stuff by rote and with little conviction. The crisis is predictable, ditto the denouement. And the fights, songs and comedy tracks that bridge crisis and denouement fail to grip.
Cast: Vijaykant, Jayasudha, Soundarya, Nasser
Choreography: Chinni Prakash
Stunts: Super Subbarayan