Any Samuthirakani film will carry a lot of relevant messages for society pushing entertainment values to the back seat. In ‘Thondan’ many current issues are tackled more verbally than visually, and this time entertainment is left hanging for dear life on the bumper of the speeding ambulance.
The story is all about Vishnu (Samuthirakani) a full time do-gooder who also happens to be an ambulance driver with the track record of 1363 lives saved and 142 children born in transit. In the very beginning itself, he courts trouble by saving the life of a man attacked by local minister’s son Manthiri Narayanan (Namo Narayanan) who marks him as an enemy. Meanwhile Samuthirakani has his hands full saving his sister (Arthana) from an acid attack by his own friend Vignesh (Vikranth).
He does not beat him up, but with a powerful speech on how he should respect women and earn their love he makes Vikranth realize his mistake and work hard to become a paramedic.
Kani also finds the love of his life Baghazhamughi (Sunainaa) in what the makers believe to be a hilarious episode. In another coincidence among many the minister’s younger son (Soundarajan) goes to the college where the hero’s sister is studying and reminiscent of a real incident tries to beat her friend to death with a broken leg of a chair.
Unlike real life where all the onlookers did nothing here in reel the girls join together and beat him up and save the girls’s life. What happens next causes further trouble for the hero and his family and how he outwits the minister’s son and brings him down is the rest of the preachy screenplay.
Samuthirakani is one of the best character actors around today, but in trying to be a commercial hero, he is less convincing be it in the attempts at comedy and the love portions with Sunainaa. However, he makes up for it in the emotional speeches which do touch the chords and especially scores in the long monologue in which he mouths hundred odd Tamil bull names and also boldly attacks the government inactions in recent times that have left the people in terrible messes.
Vikranth is wasted in an insignificant role while Ganja Karuppu also fails to evoke any laughter. Sunainaa and Arthana as Kani’s pair and sister are pleasant in the few scenes they have and Namo Narayanan, Gnanasambandham, Vela Ramamurthy and Dileepan give good accounts of themselves.
Soori and Thambi Ramaiah make sudden and unexpected entries in the climax and since the audiences are so drained by the story so far find immense relief and they cannot help but laugh at their very ordinary jokes.
Kudos to Samuthirakani for paying tribute to Jallikattu protestors at the very beginning of the film and also for repeatedly reminding the youngsters that they should never let the fire die down in many scenes. Similarly, his dialogues put a lot of emphasis on how women should be respected by men and how the latter should differentiate between love and lust. He has also not forgotten to write scenes to punctuate the relevance on humanity over everything else.
On the downside all the episodes like Vikranth’s sudden change of heart, Sunainaa’s ghost story, a minister’s son travelling by bus and getting slippered by a girl, the usual IT raid on the minister’s house are all contrived and do not connect to the audiences. The unevenly paced screenplay puts the viewers in half a sleep only to be woken up the powerful dialogues at regular intervals.
Justin Prabhakaran as usual has given some lilting tunes and the one that immediately catches attention is “Vaasamulla Poovaa”. His BGM is ok in most places but thunder on the ears when giving buildup for the hero.
Cinematography by Richard M Nathan and N.K. Ekambaram and editing by A. L. Ramesh pass muster. As said earlier Samuthirakani’s intentions are honorable and he has surely driven his messages home, but has failed to give an engaging film if not an entertaining one.
Verdict : Go for it if you are a fan of Samuthirakani and his bold messages