Monday, April 24, 2006

Thiruttu Payale

Thiruttu Payale is one of the victims of Tamil cinema’s unwritten rule that every film must be a masala film. Because of this rule, what should have been a lean and mean noir crime thriller is transformed into an uneven film whose main story is routinely interrupted by comedy and songs. It is still darker than your average Tamil film and so provides a different viewing experience but overall, is just another addition to the list of movies that could have been so much better.

When Manikam(Jeevan) becomes too much for his parents to handle, they pack him off to live with his uncle in the city. There he stumbles upon a couple(Abbas, Malavika) having an affair and realizes that they are his ticket to a rich life. He begins to blackmail them and the couple, who both have families of their own, give Manikam what he wants. On a trip to Australia, courtesy the couple, Manikam meets Rosie(Sonia Agarwal), a rich but lonely girl and falls in love. That’s when he begins to realize that there are things more important than money in life.

Thiruttu Payale’s biggest asset is its protagonist. After seeing movies where heroes have squeaky clean images and behave in predictable ways, it’s a relief seeing a protagonist with broad shades of gray. Sure he is true to his heart when it comes to romance but that is his only redeeming attribute. He doesn’t hesitate to blackmail, steal and even kill to achieve his dreams. It may not make him likeable but it does make him interesting and that’s something that cannot be said about too many Tamil cinema heroes lately.

But having shaped such a protagonist, the director fails to place him in a movie that does justice to such a character. The basic story is not at fault but is padded with so much extraneous stuff that the movie as a whole drags at many places and comes to a complete stop at others. The protagonist is made to dance, ogle at girls and indulge in silly comedy. There is also a separate comedy track, which is not really funny to begin with and then becomes irritating as it becomes an unconnected track. The song sequences, which include a belly dance item number, fare worse. The comedy segments and songs simply serve as speedbumps to the movie’s flow.

The movie’s basic plot, while different from run-of-the-mill Tamil cinema stories, isn’t completely airtight either. It has some nice surprises but the plot point that the movie hinges on(which happens just before the intermission) is too weak and raises too many questions. The development would’ve been believable only if the romance between Jeevan and Sonia had been developed correctly. But the romance is developed half-heartedly and lacks passion or intensity. So the actions of both Jeevan and Malavika seem dumb at that point though they both show flashes of intelligence before and after.

The movie finally realizes the kind of film it is only towards the end. It develops the pace that a movie of this type needs, throws in some unexpected plot developments and reveals the unseen side of some characters. The director also adopts a technique where he shows a scene(which we think has concluded) but then doubles back in time to show us that it ended in a manner very different from what we assumed. In a way he’s double-crossing us but it leads to some nice surprises.

The movie contains quite an ensemble of bad actors. Almost everyone seems stiff and goes through the motions rather than really getting into the skin of the character. Jeevan suits the role quite well but is still wooden in many places. Sonia looks almost disinterested and as always, is quite dull. Malavika gets a meaty role but doesn’t add anything special to it. She is clearly a director's actress and hams it up in quite a few places. Director Susi Ganesan, like many with other recent directors, has been bitten by the acting bug too and shows up in the role of a private detective. But he’s not even close to being as irritating as Perarasu was in Tirupathi.


At 12:07 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Balaji.. I am a little surprised with your review. All I have read so far has been nothing but raves for this film.. Let me ask you this: As compared to Five Star and Virumbukiren (I personally liked Virumbukiren better!), how would you rate Thiruttu Payale?..

The reasons for which you disliked the film is what puzzles me, basically because every other critic who has reviewed the film so far has only praised the film.. (maybe for different reasons than yours?)..

Also the other thing I'd like to know, do you think Thiruttu Payale deserves to fare far better than Thirupathi? (which it probably will, as Thirupathi has supposedly started sliding, according to; typical to Ajith's style which is the same way Attagaasam and Ji went: immediate crash & burn, following a lofty and grand opening!)..

At 5:53 AM, Blogger Mysorean said...

Ok. Got the point. Avoidable!

At 6:21 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I personally enjoyed both "Thiruttu Payale" and "Thirupathi".
Thiruttu Payale is a very good thriller by Tamil film standards and I suppose it is much better than contemporary hindi films which are all based on similar themes.Yes i agree that songs were out of place(although one song was very good).But I liked Vivek's comedy which provied good comic relief.I also enjoyed the "new double cross technique" of the director ,which you have talked about.The chaterisation of Malavika was excellent.She is not shown as totally bad or immoral.
Another interesting thing i noticed was that even after the protagonist is shown to be reformed he continues to have shades of gray.Usually this is not the case in indian films.The climax was also pretty good.Balaji don't continue to complain about indians films having comedy and songs.They will and should continue to have them.

ThirupathiBalaji i am surprised that you liked Paramasivan but not Thirupathi.Thirupathi is much better than Paramasivan.I feel it is Perarasu's best film so far.It is a pretty good mass film.It does not have any overly sentimental or emmotional dialogues.Neither does it have any preachy dialogues like the ones vijay and asin have in promised by the director all actors including the villians are involved in comic situations.The revenge plot of ajit was intersting and humorous.i could not control my laughter throughout the movie.The punch dialogues were also humorous.again neary all characters including a small characters mouth them

Both Susi Ganesan and Perarasu are talented directors.We must appreciate Susi's effort to give a new kind of tamil film.Perarasu is also a good mass director with a strong liking for mass dialogues.I would love to see kamal work with him.i wish both the films become hits.

At 10:34 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thiruttu Payale - am yet to check it out...but was wondering where Susi Ganesan had disappeared after his competent direction in Five Star and Virumbigiren...both were solid, if not spectacular, efforts...I personally liked Five Star better coz I thought Virumbigiren seriously lost its way in the final 30 mins...Five Star's first 30 mins were an endurance test though, with those unappealing songs...
but I thought he came up with some deft directorial touches and extracted good performances from the artistes in both those movies...

At 10:57 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I cant believe some ppl are looking forward to Kamal working with Perarasu. Nature save Kamal! (since he doesnt believe in God :-) )

At 11:30 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think we hould form a SPCP club (Society for Prevention of Cruelty from Perarasu) :)


At 12:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice review.. Sandya, some of my friends who went for the film based on the reviews were also somewhat letdown by the film and said it turned out pretty bad despite having a very interesting subject. I was as puzzled as you by the reviews but looks like the movie doesnt quite live up.

At 7:32 PM, Blogger Balaji said...

sandya, thats a tough comparison. those 2 had weak stories but good screenplays while this one has a good story but a bad screenplay. overall i liked those 2 more definitely.

as for the raves, i'm guessing its cos of the different story. (re)viewers r bored of the same old hero-centric story and so anything different is a relief and gets raves.

and YES, this movie deserves to fare better than 'tirupathi'. that 1 is the worst movies by a big star i've seen in a long time.

reagan, glad to hear u felt the same. and agree w/ u on all ur points like vivek's comedy, malavika, etc. she had a good role but that doesn't automatically translate to a good performance :)

adi, not avoidable. with good story and bad screenplay it is an average film according to me :)

karthik, so just because we don't have too many thrillers, i don't think any thriller should be praised irrespective of quality. as i said i liked the last half hour of TP since it was a true thriller then. until then the screenplay was really shabby.

i'm ok with songs but there have been a number of movies that didn't have a separate comedy track. i don't mean thrillers should be completely unfunny. but the director should find a way to integrate the laughs with the main track rather than inserting segments which have nothing to do with the main story. and i didn't find any of vivek's segments, except the one where he interrupts a megaserial shooting, funny.

and anyway, just because they will continue to have them doesn't mean i should stop complaining :)

i absolutely hated the 1st half of 'tirupathi'. it was vulgar, crude, crass and cheap. if u liked the film, good for u. we'll just agree to disagree :)

At 9:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes themega serial comedy was very funny.
Balaji i don't know what you found as vulgar in the first half of tirupathi.
I think it would be fun to see the versatile kamal work with perarasu and mouth some funny punch dialogues

At 9:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Balaji I am waiting for your review of AIBI which according to me is the worst tamil film i have seen for a very long time.Its story and screenplay could be a contender for all time worst.It is totally devoid of any ideas and it is not at all funny.TP and Tirupathi comedy are thousand times better

At 10:25 PM, Blogger மு.கார்த்திகேயன் said...

I didn't see the film..But my friends told TP was good to see. And always Susi Ganesan flims (Virumbukiren, Five Star) are somewhat different.. Hope good director from maniratnam camp..But it seems he needs to learn lot more from his Guru

At 12:51 AM, Blogger Maverick said...

Ada pongappa. After reading Aa.Vi's review of Thirupathi, I came to know that there are a few scenes involving director Paerarasu in the movie which is hilarious (serious comedy!). Andha video clips yaaravadhu anuppunga paa.

At 12:24 PM, Blogger Balaji said...

karthik, i found every scene and dialog where ajith and sadha talked about her attaining maturity to be vulgar.
and considering how different our tastes are, don't be surprised if i like AIBI :)

karthikeyan, yes susi ganesan has maintained his reputation of making different films. but i just wish he had packaged it better :)

mav, yep his scenes r hilarious. and what makes them more funny is that he does it all seriously :)

zero, if u thot 'sivakasi' was awful that make sure u don't go near any theater screening 'tirupathi' :)

At 1:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Friends,

I advised you not to see this movie. It is one of the worst movies I have ever seen in this Tamil film industry. If I could watch this movie in India, I would throw my slippers to the director tear out the screen.

I personally got disappointed like my other friends after watching this movie. This director has done a bad job for earning money. There is not even a single good message in that movie.

Manikam's flashback was so worst that he started practicing all bad habits during his 5th standard. He started smoking and went for Dance Bar. I can’t believe this and they projected him as hero. Foolish things. Director justified it with his father's behavior.

I never agree this as anti-hero subject. I could show some example like ‘Priyamudan’ for an anti-hero subject and not this one.

This will give bad impact on the teenage fans. I have seen many people influenced by the movies. I wonder how sensor board has left this movie out in theatres.

I really don’t understand what happened to Tamil director's brain. Have they kept brains safely in locker? I can't believe this from sasi ganesan. I enjoyed his movie 'Five Star' and 'Virumbugirean'.

My final suggestion to these movie directors: Please stop taking these kinds of movies. If you want to make money, do some other jobs (TASMAC, Kanja or Dance Bar) but don’t spoil our society.

I request you all to forward this to this movie director and producer.



At 9:11 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dangerous role models...

He breaks his own's brother's head, why? because he did not get a dosai. He cheats, he kills, he black mails, he double crosses but still, he is a hero, thiruttu payale...Come on guys, where are we heading towards?

What is the message? "...You can do whatever you want and it is correct as long as you are not caught..." Mr. director, you are terribly wrong and as a media person you have more responsibility than any normal human.

People like Kamal hassan were cautious when they take a subject like Hey Ram. And there were controversies with movies like that. But, i have not heard anything about this stupid movie and it is a hit as well.

Money is everything. It is true from the days of Jesus Christ himself. Judas betrayed him for 5o silvers. Noone questions you if you take an episode. But that is not the point anyways.

The movie is about an immoral wife, who has affair with her husband's friend. Was there any background why she is cheating on her husband? No. Was her new boy friend true to himself, No. He has his family and all the time what he does is think about their illegitimate sex life. Towards the end of the movie, do you punish them, No. Then, what do you try to convey, Mr. Director? You can have a life in whatever way you wanted, but be careful not to get caught, Isnt it? Bull Shit.

When people raised their voice against the director who took Vaali, he would not have taken a Best Friend [Ah Aah] and then Kalvanin Kadali. If the movie like Chitram pesudhadi was never a hit, movies like pattiyal will not come and directors will not dare to release pudukkottai.

In every house, there will be a pooja room, a kitchen, bed room and a toilet. During the initial stages of the movie taking, the concentration on pooja room. But, now the focus is shifted to bed room. If this is what is called realism, the days are not too long when the directors shift their focus to the toilet...Probably directors the great, like Susi Ganesan, SJ Suriyah can take how they SHIT in the morning, the dirt in their closets - after all, they are also common in the society, isnt it?

There must be utmost care and responsibility when you show something in big media. Be it the mega serials [the mother of all these irregularities] or the movies, it should be the brand ambassador for the society. Watch the movies "Monsoon Wedding" and "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" - Both the movies share the common theme; Marriage celebrations. The former is based on the marriage practice of a Conservative, closed community in the East, India and the latter from the West. Honestly, who will you consider as the culturally good community?

At 10:18 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

can u categorize ur review into different "genre", so it will give an idea for other readers ( like the one above my posting) how seriously one should be looking for a message, how desperately one should look for just comical/hilarious scenes etc, like I always wonder a MBA graduate ( ungalaithan) finding # 1. time for watching A to Z movies ( whether crass,crap without any difference)
# 2. Have time on top of this to review ( well if u have a part time job , that's OK) some of the crappiest movies, which even the very own movie associated personalities might even consider crap.
# 3. Justifying ur takes to convince other's opinion
#.4 have a set group of wellwishers ( so called, u know who) with Anti Kamal , overhype rajini sentmental fan loyalties etc...

sari, mele post pannirikkare avarukku enna badhil vechirukkenga, Tamil Movie review blog Guru?

At 5:05 PM, Blogger Balaji said...

anon/anon, i'm not sure what u mean by 'he is the hero'. yes as i said, jeevan here is not likeable and steals, blackmails, kills, etc. but the director has not romanticized it. he is just the protagonist and not a hero(in usual tamil cinema terms).

but that aside, i don't think every movie should have a message. i dont think the director is trying to convey any message here either. he is just narrating a story about a guy who is not a very good guy. as long as its interesting, i don't care whether the 'hero' is good or bad, whether he gets caught in the end or not, etc. yes most of the characters in this movie r immoral at some level. but for me that was a positive. i was bored of movies where everything was in black or white and so this movie was different. i dont look for messages in movies. i do appreciate one that tries to convey a positive msg but the fact that a movie doesn't have a msg is definitely not a negative. i don't follow what characters do in movies either...

anon, nalla idea dhaan. but unfortunately i myself don't think about 'genres' when i write reviews. i just pen down what i think about a movie :)

#1 & #2 - i've always said the time we have expands to fit the things we need to do :) apdi dhaan enakum. i like watching movies, reading books, etc. and thats what i do to unwind @ the end of the day...

#3 - i just write what i feel about a movie. its just my opinion and i don't try to convince anybody else :)

#4 - i'm not sure what u mean by this. there r a few readers for my blog/reviews and they have their own likes/dislikes about movies, stars, etc. avlo dhaan :)

At 8:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

BB, irundhaalum ungalukku porumai romba, romba jaasthi...naan-a irundha mairaachu-nu poitte irupen...was re-reading this review coz i just watched this movie and wanted to post a comment but ena comments idhu? and, i wonder whaz the use of criticizing the reviewer if u dont agree with the review! hilarious stuff this...!

At 3:59 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi (Hey) Ram,

See, If Balaji has a page to write his comments about a movie, then I should have rights to comment about it. Neenga Mairachi-nu ponalum athukku reply pannalum, you are spending (wasting) your time. If Balaji wont require reader's comments, then he could have remove this comment checkbox (Ofcourse he can) from his next review page.

I feel the comment for the review page is not to agree with the writer, but to put their own points in front of the public.

If Balaji wants only his well-wisher to read and enjoy his blog (review), ask him not to publish his blog here after with comments.

Yesterday, I saw a movie (Azakai Irrukirai Bayamai Irukkirathu) and waitin for review from balaji. I would appriciate director's effort for making this good entertainer. I couldnt get any useful message from this movie but I enjoyed and felt relaxed after watching that movie.

Opinion differs and should not struggle to take lead.

My points are correct to me and I have rights to publish.



At 11:07 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

thamizhan, I do agree with the part where you say that every commentor has his right to voice his/her opinion and strongly too, if that's his/her style of writing...thaz fine...what bothers me is when you make statements like "like I always wonder a MBA graduate ( ungalaithan) finding # 1. time for watching A to Z movies ( whether crass,crap without any difference)" I feel that that is none of our business and that we dont have the "right" to say stuff like that...this is the biggest problem I have with "Bhuvan" as well. It's okay to have a conflicting's fun @ times's just that I hate it when a party in an argument analyzes/attacks the person instead of the issue.

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