Review Tamil

Thuppakki Munai review: Well-intentioned but not-so-engaging tale of redemption and revenge

Release Date: 14 Dec 2018 / Rated: U


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Karthik Kumar

The film is written with a purpose, and that’s commendable, even though it doesn’t quite make an impact.

There’s not much to say about Dinesh Selvaraj's Thuppakki Munai, which works to an extent only because it is far better than most of Vikram Prabhu's films released in the last four years. It is a very familiar tale of redemption and revenge involving an encounter cop and a father who loses his daughter to a brutal crime.

What happens when the paths of these two individuals cross forms the crux of this film, which is a well-intentioned, but not so engaging story. Nevertheless, it is not one of those lazily written films that are solely made for the sake of entertainment. You can sense Thuppakki Munai is written with a purpose, and that’s commendable, even though it doesn’t quite make an impact.  

In the film, Vikram Prabhu plays encounter specialist Birla Bose. He lives in Mumbai and has a kill count of 33. Into the first 10 minutes of the film, we learn about Bose’s backstory through newspaper clippings and understand that he is notorious and ruthless when it comes to killing criminals. This very attitude costs him his job a few times as he gets suspended from the force, only to be eventually taken back on another case. Due to his job, he has a strained relationship with his mother who never understands him. When a new case takes him to Rameshwaram, a harrowing incident changes his perspective on killing.

Thuppakki Munai shines the spotlight on several issues that is plaguing our society. From the ill treatment of migrant workers to inhuman rape cases and lack of basic ethics; it tries to address many problems at once and in the process ends up being unconvincing. It leaves us wondering if too much has been packed into the narrative.   

In what could be best described as a very earnest performance, Vikram redeems his shaky career with a film that deserves a shout-out. He plays Birla Bose with a never-before-seen restraint and a sensation of guilt. It’s quite a departure from his usual style of roles and that deserves some praise. Vikram’s faith in the script needs to be applauded, for he chooses a film that’s devoid of the trappings of a commercial potboiler.

Veteran actor MS Bhaskar shines in a very important role and shows why he is still one of the most underrated artistes of Tamil cinema. Playing the role of a father who mourns the loss of his daughter to a heinous crime, he elevates his performance by never getting over-dramatic. He is terrific in a couple of emotional stretches towards the end. Actress Hansika Motwani plays the leading lady, and in a role which she has played more times than she can remember in her career, she has very little to contribute to the film.

As a crime thriller, Thuppakki Munai gets the crime angle quite right, but falters with the execution as it treads a very predictable path by the end.

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