#THERI is the story of a Good father (A honest cop) versus a Bad father (A bad politician). Atlee has taken the plot of Maniratnam’s SATHRIYAN and has tried to present it in a format that is enjoyed by Vijay fans and family audience; he has tried to make few minor changes for people who have not seen the original.
The first half of THERI was enjoyable and crowd pleasing, despite offering anything new; there weren’t any boredom moments till the interval point. Vijay’s introduction scene was subtle and cute, rather than going with a forced, massive entry. The first half did not have much deviations and was progressing rightly with needed commercial elements in right amount. Glad that Atlee did not wait till interval to begin the flashback, as like other revenge sagas. The interval block (the Napier bridge scene) was too good, setting high expectations over second half.
The problems started with the second half, where the film did not have literally anything post the flashback portion; it was completely flat except for few good moments. Once we see the hero choosing to go with a ‘Ghost-like’ game, then it is a ‘yawning’ play for the next 30 minutes. The baddie has nothing much to do, except threatening and challenging the hero over phone; there isn’t anything that makes the hero vs villain episode exciting or special. The exhausted style of narration in these type of revenge films, the predictability and inconsistency in the second half stands strongly against the entertainment quotient of THERI. (In a scene where Vijay says ‘Neeyaa inga varala….’, a 5 years old kid next to me completed the dialogue ‘…. Naan unnai vara vechen’. This is an example of how clichéd the writing was in second half). The climax scene was so dull and abrupt, which makes Atlee’s end message lack solidity. The hero worship was also overdone in few scenes (say the scenes where the hero is compared to God).
Despite all the above said minuses, THERI is definitely worth a watch. It will be a treat for Vijay fans, who watches the film with minimal expectations. The interval block sets an expectation for the second half that it would be full of mass moments, instead it has more of emotional content (this factor might disappoint some Vijay fans and a set of audience). If it was songs, Santhanam’s comedy, the glossy making and the cheesy / flimsy emotions that saved Atlee’s first film RAJA RANI, it is the rich making and Vijay who saves THERI completely.
Being a fan of Vijay, Atlee has shown Vijay so lovably all-through the film. Vijay scores distinctly in songs, dance, romance and emotional scenes, except for the unlikable dialogue modulation in few scenes alone. The scene where he speaks to a rape victim at the hospital and the scene where his family is attacked proves his acting skills, whereas the ‘Five star’ scene, his conversations with Mahendran and the interval block are tailor-made for him which will be much enjoyed by his fans. The fight sequences (the rain fight, the road fight and the restaurant fight scenes) are all a delight to watch. His chemistry with Samantha has worked perfectly and the mother sentiment scenes with Radhika and the scenes with Nainika will be liked and loved by family audience and kids. For Samantha, it is one of her best roles in Tamil cinema which she has done convincingly. Nainika is a very good find, and one of the biggest plus points of THERI. Legendary director Mahendran has done a splendid job in the role given, but still it was a very small role for a person like him. Amy Jackson has a very small role and she does it unerringly – the wig was alone intolerable and it was a good decision to move ‘Raangu Raangu’ song to end credits. Rajendran provides the needed humour relief (though there were humour that wasn’t so funny). Cinematography by George Williams is the biggest asset of THERI, which makes it a richer entertainer in all aspects. G.V.Prakash’s songs (the visuals are amusing) & background score and Ruben’s sleek cuts contributes adequately to the film’s success. There are some well-made VFX works seen in songs and many scenes, kudos to the technical department.
On the whole, THERI is a crowd pleasing entertainer that could have been much better. It had all potential to be a great commercial film; the poor writing in second half has let it down.
A suggestion to Director Atlee – You can make films with Maniratnam stories such as MOUNA RAAGAM, SATHRIYAN; you can even do the rehashes of AGNI NATCHATHIRAM, PAGAL NILAVU, IDHAYATHAI THIRUDATHE next, Atlee. But, please be courteous enough to say publicly that you are inspired by his films. And, please take some good time to rehash them with a proper script so that the original’s name & value are not spoiled.
Review by: Rahman
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