Last Man Standing

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Being closely related to someone who used to work in the revenue department of India can be a major disadvantage while watching cop movies. My father hated watching cop movies where the protagonist goes alone to the enemy camp, shoots down everyone, comes back victoriously without a single drop of sweat or blood and even gets the girl in the end. Though he does enjoys the movies, he always had a small niggle that inspite of having all the resources, only a very minimum amount of cop movies show the actual drama that unfolds. Having grown up listening to his anecdotes, I always understood his misgivings about this genre. But translating his version into a commercially viable and entertaining movie didn’t seem all that good a prospect.

Thani Oruvan is one movie that my father would approve. There are a couple of action sequences that might not exactly happen in real life. But what is cinema, if not for the willing suspension of disbelief.

An uptight police officer Mithran (Ravi) locks horns with a suave and a dangerous criminal Siddharth Abhimanyu (Arvind Swamy). The plot is basically a clash of ideals with constantly oscillating one-upmanship.

The movie opens with an enterprising introduction for one of the central characters. That one scene locked my interest in the proceedings that were to follow. I was mightily impressed, especially taking into consideration the filmography of the director.

I remember mocking a new hero in the early 2000’s for what I thought to be an unnecessary foray into Tamil cinema. His hard earned rise in the industry and his movie choices taught me an important lesson on not judging a movie by its poster. I’ve been an avid viewer of ‘Jayam’ Ravi’s movies ever since, sometimes watching his movies more than once in the theatres. He’s been making movies with a conscience and trying to create social awareness without making much of a noise and within the constraints of popular cinema.  I shall tend to ignore movies like ‘Sakalaka Vallavan’, because it was a genuinely BAD film.

Finally after ages, I got to watch Nayantara in a role which is not plain stupid or trying too hard to carry a film on her shoulders. She has a well etched role with enough scope for performance. She doesn’t have to play a damsel in distress or an arm/eye candy and her experience in the industry helps her carry this role with élan. The romance part of the movie was subtle and went with the tone of the movie. Personally, the only jarring note was a duet song in the later part of the movie, which was too distracting especially coming after one awesomely written and performed scene.

Special mention should be given to all the supporting characters right from Mithran’s Police friends, the various secondary antagonists, Mugdha Godse, Abhinaya and the ever reliable Thambi Ramaiah who plays Arvind Swamy’s father.

I am not skilled enough or rather, skilled at all to talk about the technical aspects of this movie. But I liked the usage of split screen and the lighting in the action and interrogation scenes. The music was a major plus. ‘HipHop’ Adhi did capture my attention with his music for that wonderful movie called ‘Indru Netru Naalai’ and with this he has ensured that I’d be looking forward to his next album. The ‘Thani Oruvan’ theme seemed to be running in everyone’s head while exiting the theatres.

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Arvind Swamy is a reluctant actor, having done just 20 odd films in a career spanning more than 25 years is a testimony to that. Probably that is why the audience seems to be in awe and appreciation for the actor who isn’t exactly known for his acting mettle. This movie has elevated him from an adulated actor to a genuinely appreciated actor. Though the claps and whistles for his entry and the comments like ‘Waah… Evlo azhaga irukkaan ya’(wow, he’s so good looking) or “goyyaale colour ah paaru’ (Bloody guava, see how fair he is) or ‘Appa.. Appa… maaplai ah indha maadhri paaru pa’ (find me a groom like him) was expected, the thunderous applause during those ‘punch’ dialogues and that ovation he received for that cracker of a climax was unexpected. A warm welcome to Arvind Swamy – ‘The Actor’ is to be extended.

I loved the movie is an understatement. Various scenes like Mithran’s salute in the first actual confrontation scene of the central characters, one of Mithran’s fellow police officer friend actually getting better of a few henchmen, Siddharth ‘giving everyone the finger’, that climax dialogue, that hilarious wordplay with ‘Cake’, most of the scenes involving Siddharth and his father were wolf whistle worthy, extremely memorable and even now brought a smile across my face. Have I already said that am impressed by the movie???

While everyone can’t seem to stop raving about the transformation of ‘Chocolate boy’ Arvind Swamy into a character who terms himself to be pure Evil, I am more in awe of the transformation of “Jayam’ Raja into Mohan Raja.

This is the first time in 15 years; he’s not directed a remake of a blockbuster Telugu or a Malayalam movie. This is his movie, an original one and one that he can be extremely proud of. The scenes were intelligently written and deftly placed. To make a serious movie in the cop genre, with a lovely undercurrent of romance and humour, requires a certain set of skills.

Well, ‘Jayam’ Ravi might have been the Hero…

Arvind Swamy, the showstopper…

Nayantara, the audience puller…

But, It was a M.Raja’s movie… and that is the reason why I clapped loudest when the end credits went up like this…

Mohan Raja

(v)In

Thani  Oruvan

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3 thoughts on “Last Man Standing

  1. Pingback: 2015… A Flashback – 1 | The Wannabe Writer

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