A Sky Full Of Stars





In the days of  yore, let’s say some ten to fifteen years back, I grew up in an atmosphere where a superstar’s movie release was accompanied by the bursting of crackers and ‘paal abhishekam'(milk … Abhishek?? ) basically considering the stars as our family deity and treating them with utmost respect and reverence.

As time passed, though the noise, air pollution and the blatant wastage of food resources hasn’t dipped, the respect and reverence gave way to love, adulation and a feeling of these ‘stars’ becoming a part of our family. Previously when there used to be any kind of altercations between the followers of a certain deity, the situation was easily solved and the non-believers were never affected. The believers and non-believers lived much more harmoniously in the past rather than in the present.

I believe the difference started with the advent of social media and moire importantly when we lowered the standards of our actors/stars from demi-gods to our ‘Friend’/’Leader’/’Brother’. We made the equations personal, we made them a part of our homes, our daily lives and our table conversation. An affront to these stars was taken personally by these fans. Verbally and at times physically abusing a person who doesn’t accept the views they have, became normal.

The stars completed the Fans, rather than it being in the reverse.

The other movie that released this past week deals with how a Superstar’s life gets an everlasting impact by one such devotee/brother/stalker/fanatic or that all encompassing term, FAN.

On the other hand… though THERI has nothing to do with this central conceit, it is a movie where most of the scenes are a sort of an ode to the ‘Fan’ who bought the FDFS* ticket at an exorbitant price, the one who would scream his throat hoarse whenever his ‘brother’ came on screen and later walk out of the movie hall with a smile on his face and would take anyone and everyone down, be it in person or through social media, if they decide to speak a word against his family member.

After all, who would accept a slight against the family. . .

This is exactly what THERI is all about. Basically, the protagonist and the antagonist retaliate against each other after losing something precious.

Be it his role as Joseph Kuruvilla, a meek Malayalam speaking Tamil person in Kerala (A nice way to cater to the unbelievable adulation he receives in God’s own country) or the upright cop A.Vijay Kumar of Chennai(somehow not a single scene felt like it took place in Chennai), Vijay is pretty effective. On the other hand of the spectrum is veteran director Mahendran playing the antagonist Vaanamamalai who is hell bent on ruining the life of the cop who took law into his own hands and killed his good for nothing socially dangerous son. Probably because I am a big fan of his movies, I found his histrionics pleasing and liked the way the Hero-Villain scenes were conceived and shot.

The other supposed ‘attraction’ of this movie was Nainika, the little kid playing Nivi, the ‘oh-so-cute’ daughter of Vijay. She had her fun on screen and mouthed a few sugary dialogues. Some people clapped, some went awwww and now there are people saying that she will definitely win a national award for her acting skills. I have a problem when they term such performances by kids as acting. Let’s not burden kids with such a big task. Nainika was cute and that’s about it

Samantha is pleasing and surprisingly effective in the role of a doctor who falls head over heels in love with the upright cop after their first meeting, has a few scenes and meets the fate of the heroine who comes in the flashback.

Amy Jackson plays a Malayalam speaking teacher whose only job is to listen to the protagonist’s flashback.

I need to mention this again… Amy Jackson plays a Malayalam speaking teacher.

I’d have loved to use that aforementioned line again but special mention had to be given to Prabhu and Radhika. They must be giving each other major hi-fives about the money earned doing next to nothing.

The story isn’t new and is a rehash of many plot points from other blockbusters from the past. It would still have been an acceptable phenomenon if justice had been done to them. Most of the romance scenes between Vijay and Samantha and the action sequences were very ordinary and gave a sense of déjà-vu.

THERI is GV Prakash’s 50th movie and the moment the first song ‘Eena Meena Teeka’ played on the screen, I couldn’t hide my despair about the fact that not just the first line but the music had a very strong resemblance to a 1950’s hit number. Not a single song registered in my head which was very unlike of GVP who certainly manages to retain the attention span of a listener if not wow them. The theme music was used too much, but it got the audience all charged up. So it was pretty effective on that front even though it might have been repetitive to a fault.

Oh yeah, I did find the first half of the movie pretty entertaining. It was the second half that fizzled out and took the sense of goodness I’d attached to the initial portions of the movie.

I love movies and everything related to it. I watch the audio release functions, the pre-release interviews and the like. I personally believe Atlee oversold the movie. It was not meant to be anything more than a commercial entertainer. I don’t have a problem with a commercial entertainer with a tad bit of sense and logic, but I don’t believe in movies turning preachy for the sake of it. The entire pre-release buzz was that this was a movie that would be a lesson for all fathers to raise their sons properly. The movie was peppered with preachy scenes throughout. Vijay preaching about the usage of helmets in his ‘message’ introduction song (but he didn’t wear one and endangered his daughter’s life going on a chase sequence with her), talking about rapes and the brutality in its execution(No, you don’t need such elaborate dialogues especially when the movie is rated U), child slavery and many more scenes that highlighted the good natured cop.

I believe Pudhupettai fared much more effectively than THERI on how fathers should treat their sons without getting all preachy and on my nerves.

The point is I don’t have a problem with template movies. The irritation creeps up only when they take themselves too seriously and try to be something way different.

I am not skilled enough or rather, skilled at all to talk about the technical aspects of this movie, but the movie was pleasing to the eye and with such a high budget behind the making, it is imperative that they are top-notch.

THERI is certainly not a bad film. It had its moments. I found it to be very few and far in between. But just like most of the reviews for a “star entertainer”, it is not going to make any difference to the hordes of fans that were shrieking their lungs out in the theatre.

The entire movie was summed up with the jubilation that a friend of mine had after the movie got over. He found it to be more than enough for a Vijay movie and was happy with the way it finally shaped up. That’s when I realized that not all movies and movie goers aim for the skies, not all of them want their movies to be filled with panache and reach excellence. Mediocrity works just as well too…

It would have been good if Atlee realized that. Or unfortunately, did he??

P.S. My favourite scene was the one that involved an awesomely effective Rajendran, a newspaper and a bridge

P.P.S. Amy Jackson plays a Malayalam speaking teacher…



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