SYNOPSIS: Angered by the corruption that stopped him from becoming a CBI officer, a young man forms a gang who pose as CBI officers and raids the corrupt.
THAANAA SERNDHA KOOTTAM REVIEW: Taking the core plot of Neeraj Pandey’s Special 26, a solid caper, Vignesh ShivN has come up with a heist film that is playful for the most parts, but gets message-heavy in the end. He has also carried over the music video sensibility of his Naanum Rowdydhaan and this style injects playfulness and lightness to the narrative of TSK in the first half.
The film revolves around Iniyan (Suriya, looking bright, and full of charm) who aspires to work in the CBI, but has his – and his father’s (Thambi Ramaiah) – dream shattered by Uthaman (Suresh Menon, with the voice of Gautham Menon) a corrupt officer. He assembles a team of people (Ramya Krishnan, Senthil, Sathyan and Shivashankar) who have been thwarted by the system and they begin to raid the corrupt posing as CBI officers.
Thaanaa Serndha Koottam works wonderfully well as long as it stays closer to the plot of Special 26, and the changes are superficial – restricted to the backgrounds and motivations of the characters. The raids are staged with a sense of fun, and the scenes are punctuated with Anirudh’s peppy songs that make the film lively.
They also add emotional heft, like in the song Enge Endru Povadhu, which plays out during a scene between Iniyan and his father, and his friend (Kalaiyarasan), that recalls the use of the song Kannana Kanne in Naanum Rowdydhaan. It also makes a cliched backstory feel fresh.
As with this scene, which becomes a way to talk about the NEET controversy and Anitha’s suicide, the film creates opportunities to comment on contemporary issues – from GST to urbanisation. The romantic track, between Iniyan and Madhu (Keerthy Suresh), who helps the gang, begins on a charming note, but the character gets sidelined towards the climax.
It is the deviations that Vignesh ShivN brings in to make his film feel different from the original are underwhelming. For instance, the character Kurinji Vendhan (Karthik), another CBI officer – a sincere but tough one – who is after Iniyan’s gang becomes redundant because the film already has an antagonist in Uthaman, and cannot decide what to do with him.
It is this uncertainty that leads to a wobbly climax which kind of ruins the cheeky, celebratory tone of the film. We get an unnecessary action block, and an overkill of message. The social concerns of the film, which were just undercurrents, rise to the surface, and the effect is jarring.