If you want to do a bungee jump, know that the fall’s going to be hard and rapid, why expect a smooth, cosy airplane ride, with a view as pleasant as the morning sun?
Know what you are signing up for when you sit for a Bala movie. Thaarai Thappattai is definitely not for the weak hearted. The intensity of the movie can take a huge emotional toll on the audiences.
Simply put in a line, Thaarai Thappattai explains the limit to which the plight of folk artistes of Tamil Nadu can extend to. Bala has explored the darkest of struggles, so much so that one might wonder if humans are even capable of such acts.
The first half of Thaarai Thappattai is filled with amazing music and incredible performances. Varalaxmi as the folk dancer is a joy to watch.
Her natural energy, commitment, the little capers and the tinge of amorous nature she brings into the part is a work of a true performer. Sasikumar as the short tempered, committed Nadaswaram player fits the character rather really well. His persona takes a massive shift in the later half of the movie and his flexibility is evident.
GM Kumar, who plays a cranky senior folk artiste and the father of Sasikumar has a couple of sequences to score. His introductory performance shows the work he has put in to master the sequence. The sequence reminds us of the actors of the classical era who could elegantly sing and perform at the same time. GM Kumar gives the impression of a true folk artiste.
The best find is however, Suresh (better known as Studio9 Suresh), who plays the villain. Although one might find his activities in the movie as extreme nature, his portrayal of the character is flawless. He is arrogant, violent, disrespectful, cruel, shameless and a bit funny.
Vadhana Vadhana song sequence needs a special mention for the collaborative work of all the artistes involved in the song.
Overall the performances in Thaarai Thappattai are of superior quality and so is the technical aspects. Chezhian’s cinematography is vibrant in the first half and ruthlessly raw in the later half.
His work in the Andaman Festival sequence stands out for its smooth but pacy nature. Editor G Sasikumar must also be credited for the coherent flow of the narration.
Another noteable factor in the movie is its production design. Balachander has created ambiences that look incredibly true, be it the festival setup or the dark kinky dungeons of the villain.
All that said, while Bala must be appraised for extracting the best out of his team, the treatment of the movie and the story by itself stands as weaklings. While the story seem to be a rehash, the treatment of the tale is excessively violent and gory.
However, all that being present, the biggest of treat and the strength of the film is the maestro’s music. This is his forte and Ilayaraja, a magician that he is, has shown folk music, in its true magnificent form.
Thaarai Thappattai on the whole is exceedingly intense in its treatment and essence. Please be informed that this is an A certified film and if you want to watch it as a family, we advise you to leave the children behind.
Verdict: Exquisite music, exceedingly brutal treatment, strong filmmaking and a weak story – That’s Thaarai Thappattai