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Films that revolve around social problems strike a chord with people, especially when big stars feature in them. At the same time, films of star value that have the lead playing an anti-hero are hauled over coals. Ajith’s latest film Thunivu does echo some of the anti-heroics of his earlier films Mankatha and Billa-2, but the question is: does the film have only ingredients for entertainment or is there something more?

Gunshots galore
As the trailer of Thunivu hints, the story takes off with a bank heist. It goes through the familiar trajectory of robbers breaking into a bank, threatening staff and customers at gunpoint, and making off with the money. As they come out of the bank, however, a man descends on the scene as if from nowhere. He claims to be a robber himself, and tells them the bank has three times the value of their loot still stashed away. They are not ready to believe him, of course.

From this point onward, the audience naturally expects the star to subdue the robbers with the usual heroics and make them surrender. But here comes the twist. Thunivu does not travel through expected cinematic terrain. It turns out that contrary to a bank heist film, Thunivu instead brings to the fore issues pertaining to common people’s practice of saving money.

The hero is as cool as a cucumber in the face of tension, his body language going from suave to menacing as needed, and the way he delivers his sardonic lines and elegantly peppy dance numbers all being a visual treat to his fans

The film opens with some mysterious men kidnapping the proprietor of a company that has been rocked by a slide in the stock market. The audience is transported to the world of western films as they are bombarded with high-decibel assaults from thundering gunshots in the scenes. Yet, the film holds the interest of the audience with various elements.

Ajith aces the swagger
Director H Vinod has etched out Ajith’s character excellently. The hero is as cool as a cucumber in the face of tension, his body language going from suave to menacing as needed, and the way he delivers his sardonic lines and elegantly peppy dance numbers all being a visual treat to his fans. Reviving some rare moments from his earlier films such as Vaali, Ajith, named Michael Johnson in Thunivu, has his fans breaking out into rapturous applause.

As Ajith dominates much of the screen space with his brilliant dance-and-fight sequences, others like Samudrakani, G M Sundar, Ajaykumar, Veera, Prem, Mahanadi Sankar and Bala Saravanan fade to the background. Pattimandram personality Mohana Sundaram connects well with the audience in his role as a reporter.

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John Kokken, Chirag Jani, Kumar Natarajan and Alagappan appear as villains. Along with them, Darshan too gets some prominence. Ciby Bhuvana Chandran, Amir and Pavani Reddy also feature in the film.

A larger-than-life cutout of Ajith in an action pose seen at a theatre in France where crowds have gathered to watch their favourite star’s latest, Thunivu.

Generally, action films don’t give much space to heroines in a hero-oriented film. But in Thunivu, heroine Manju Warrier appears in action sequences too and plays a prominent role.

It’s all technical
The way cinematographer Nirav Shah introduces Ajith in the frame is so well crafted that the subsequent shots meander through unexplored terrain, springing surprise after surprise on the audience. Editor Vijay Velukutti’s work, however, leaves much to be desired. Some characters vanish, leaving questions about their state unanswered. Yet his role in keeping the first half of Thunivu riveting and fast-paced is immense. The second half, though, feels incomplete, probably because he has edited out several shots to prevent the film from sagging.

The sets such as bank, roads etc. created by Milan and co are not incongruous with the tempo of the narrative. But Ghibran who has scored music for Thunivu has gone overboard thinking he should focus on sound in an action film, and forgetting that a musician must also make the most of silence. The three songs he has composed are in tune with Ajith’s macho image.

Generally, action films don’t give much space to heroines in a hero-oriented film. But in Thunivu, heroine Manju Warrier appears in action sequences too and plays a prominent role

Director Vinod’s deftness
Director Vinod must be applauded for taking up the theme of economic offences committed by big shots in society and their impact on common people, and making an entertaining action film out of it. He has put it together well. A line in the film mentions a scam involving a cricket team from a few years ago. The director has skillfully set the audience guessing about the cricket team.

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Stunt choreographer Supreme Sundar has made the action sequences highly entertaining. Yet he could have avoided the overdose of violence in a few scenes.

By and large, Director Vinod can be praised for making an entertaining film that carries a serious message: Don’t choose death as the solution to your economic losses caused by fraud and forgery.


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