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Avoid Thotta
Nandhu Sundaram

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February 29, 2008 16:03 IST

The withering, never-ending season of gangster movies is at its peak and the creative drought that plagues Tamil cinema continues even as Thotta, starring Jeevan and Priyamani, hits theatres this week.

There is no thrill when the bullets are fired. The romance of the lead pair lacks passion. The comic scenes, few and far between, fall flat in this misdirected, cliche-ridden venture. The screenplay, which never gathers steam, wanders like a child lost in a supermarket.

Director Selva is content to let his actors go through the motions and is never able to draw performances of any quality from them. Even Priyamani, who was wonderful in Paruthiveeran [Images], is unable to rescue this movie.

The villains played by Mayilusamy, Livingston and Santhanabharathi walk into this movie straight from the 1980s. Mayilusamy, who plays the Commissioner of Police, is particularly unbearable with his maniacal laughter and yelling. Instead of acting, he scoffs, shouts, snorts and hams his way through a plum role, killing the movie, and, hopefully his career as well.

Selva's singular failure is in infusing any emotion in the movie. The screenplay is a maze of twists and turns, none of them believable.

Shanmugham aka Thotta, played by Jeevan suffers a blow early in life when his father abandons his mother, who soon dies. A police officer adopts the child, who grows up into a hired killer, extortionist and errand boy, all rolled into one.

Thotta is hired to throw acid on Nalina, played by Priyamani, who happens to be the daughter of the man who helps the goon cremate his mother. Thotta wants to help Nalina, who wants to be a cop. Thotta agrees to knock off a Union minister in return for a job for Nalina. But when the Commissioner of Police demands to sleep with Nalina, Thotta is forced to antagonise the man who raised him.

Jeevan has proven his acting skills in movie like Kakka Kakka and Naan Avan Illai. The charismatic actor is able to play the part of a rowdy well, but when it comes to the romantic scenes, he is fails miserably. Perhaps the actor is yet to discover that menace and romance are spelt different.

Priyamani, who has put on weight, is a far better actress than what the role demands. What is puzzling is why she is stuck in such kinds of movies.

None of the technicians really deliver. The camera work is pedestrian and the editing is jarring. But the worst comes from Srikanth Deva, whose background music is fit for a B-movie straight from the 80s. The first two songs nearly kill the movie before Jeevan and Priyamani manage to resuscitate it.

 If the producer had spent the money on feeding poor people, at least a few would have slept on a full stomach. Creating art, he will find out the hard way, requires much more than money. It requires talent, which is singularly lacking in this effort

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