Cast: Suriya, Keerthi Suresh, RJ Balaji, Ramya Krishnan
Director: Vignesh Shivan
Music director: Anirudh Ravichander
Release Date: 11 January 2018 (USA)
Duration: 2h 20m
Vignesh Shivan (styled as Vignesh ShivN) has come out with a racy heist comedy entertainer Thaanaa Serndha Koottam (TSK), based on Neeraj Pandey’s Special 26 (2013). Sivan has taken the basic plot and reworked it, made some crucial changes and given it a typical Tamil mass hero movie packaging (with generous helpings of Anirudh Ravichander’s chartbusters) to suit local tastes.
It is an intelligently scripted film about a group of con men and women, with some outstanding performances by the lead actors — mainly Suriya and Ramya Krishnan. The film, set in the late 1980s, is about a group of people getting together and posing as a CBI raid team to commit heists. They are led by a daring and street-smart young man (Suriya) who due to circumstances and a desire to avenge the ill treatment meted out by a corrupt CBI officer Uthaman (Suresh Menon) to his father (Thambi Ramaiah), wants to hit back at the system. He is assisted by a team of con artists (played by Ramya Krishnan, Keerthy Suresh, Senthil, Sathyan and a few others) who have their own back stories.
They make it a point to raid corrupt politicians, bureaucrats and businessmen with a lot of black money. The corrupt people that they raid do not want any proof of their wrongdoings, so no FIRs are filed, and nobody complains to the police. As a corrupt minister says: “We can always make more money, but nothing should happen to our clean image”. In short, Suriya and his team escape after every heist with their conscience clean and loads of black money. However, the real CBI catches wind of their activities, and a team led by Uthaman and an honest and ruthless investigating officer (Karthik) get on their tails, leading to some twists and turns in the plot.
The film belongs to Suriya in the central role, as a young man with a conscience and a desire to clean up the system, who isn’t above using devious methods to con the rich and corrupt. He is fantastic and it is refreshing to see him in the strait-laced comedy scenes. With an ingeniously layered role and a brilliant act, Ramya Krishnan truly “steals” the show. Keerthy Suresh as Suriya’s romantic interest shines as the coy con woman. Suresh Menon as the dirty CBI officer is aptly cast, while Karthik makes most of his role and is always in command. Comedians Senthil and Sathyan bring in the laughs. The soundtrack and background score by Anirudh matches the pace of the plot, and includes several hummable songs. Veteran Sreekar Prasad’s editing keeps the film racy at 132 minutes.
But Thaanaa Serndha Koottam is not without its problems. The director has changed the climax totally from the original and made it message-oriented (like all recent Tamil mass hero films), making it drag a bit in the second half. He takes a dig at the corruption in the state’s public service boards and the buying of seats in educational institutes, to justify the hero’s stance
On the whole TSK is a fun film from Vignesh ShivN, and his smart writing comes across. In fact, at a fake CBI officer’s recruitment scene a girl being interviewed by the conmen says she wants to join the agency to stop corruption in the society. When Suriya — impressed by the girl’s motive — asks her name, she replies, “Sasikala” (currently in jail on corruption charges)! And most of the people who turn up for the interview, when asked for the full form of CBI, respond with: Central Bank of India!
TSK is an enjoyable ride for the entire family, and it’s refreshing to see Suriya back in form.