Vijay and Atlee's Theri is one of the most awaited big budget movies of 2016. Atlee has joined Vijay in his second film after his successful debut 'Raja Rani'. Will the young talented director satisfy both fans and trade as he teams up with Ilaiyathalapathy?
After watching Atlee's Raja Rani, one would walk into Theri expecting the same whiff of freshness in handling the script and breezy narration. Surprisingly, Atlee decides to borrow generously from a number of oft-repeated templates from his mentors Shankar(multiple movies), AR Murugadoss(Ghajini) and blends it un-apologetically with Gautham Menon's Yennai Arindhaal and sprinkles with Rajini's classic Baasha "hidden past" sequence.
Story, Script and Screenplay :
Theri's story is based on a simple revenge drama mounted on an uninteresting screenplay with highly predictable scenes narrated in a painstakingly long run-time. It is obvious from the first reel that there is a gruesome past that the hero is trying to keep it under wraps. Director Atlee could not disguise the suspense as he unfolds some critical scenes in a bland manner. The movie jumps from one track to another while taking its own sweet time in setting up the stage. The flash back portion stretches for way too long during the first half and also extending into the second half. It is clear that screenplay must have gone through a number of changes from the time of scripting and by the time it passed through post-production. The buildup and narration were incongruous at times.
The introductory scenes and dialogues between Vijay and Samantha in the bus are probably the most engaging even though they are also heavily inspired by Ghajini love scenes. Atlee should be credited for some good dialogues and sparks of brilliance when bringing out the right emotions. Thanks to the seasoned actress Radhika, who acts as Vijay's mom.
Vijay is cuteness-overloaded throughout the movie. As his title suggests, Ilaiyathalapathy doesn't seem to age at all. Vijay is super fit in his cop outfit. For majority of the part, the movie is watchable only because of Vijay's excellent presence. Samantha's earnest attempt should be appreciated. But, the predictability of her character and obviousness of where it was all leading up to, make it less engaging. Amy Jackson has been de-glamourized by her poor choice of wig. Vijay and Amy 'kuthu' song is thankfully pushed out to the tail-end of the end titles (after the bloopers). Yesteryear director Mahendran and Director Azhagam Perumal do not make much of an intended impact. Naan Kadavul Rajendran comes as the usual loyalist accompanying the hero. His comedy portions fail to work. Meena's daughter Nainika is the truly a great find from this movie. The comic relief is contributed mostly by Vijay and Nainika's exchange of one-liners. Atlee succeeds in a few casting choices (helpless father of a 'nirbhaya' victim) while casting choices fail in others (Samantha's father).
Music and Technical Department :
Theri is one of Vijay's most average albums with no catchy songs. Contrary to one's expectations, GV Prakash's songs are not elevated by picturization nor dance movements as witnessed in earlier Vijay movies. Only saving grace is Vijay's duet number with Samantha, which recreates some of the 'Selfie Pulla' effect. The background music in many scenes prematuredly give away the culmination of certain scenes. GV Prakash has tried his best to make the narration pacy, at the risk of misplacing hero-glorification tracks.
George Williams camerawork is fantastic and brings the fresh feel and richness on every frame. Art director has done a lot of work in this movie with a number of songs mounted on elaborate sets and Vijay-Samantha's house interiors (with unpractical stairs with no railings, just to nitpick). Unlike other Vijay movies, dance choreography is low energy and subdued.
It is a wonder how Vijay must have accepted the one-liner which is a beaten-to-death in Tamil cinema. It is unfortunate to see Atlee's complacency in the writing department brings down sincere earnest efforts from Vijay, Samantha and technical crew members. Theri is not so theriffic!