Friday, June 19, 2009


Debutant director Saba Iyappan obviously belongs to the breed of directors who think that simply throwing together elements like action, romance, sentiments and comedy is all that is required to deliver a successful masala film. He does exactly that in Thoranai, banking on those elements to make up for the wafer-thin story. Unfortunately, none of those individual elements drum up any excitement, and so his approach, which admittedly has worked before, only results in a dull, ineffective film.

In order to comfort his distraught mother(Geetha), Murugan(Vishal) sets off to Chennai to find his longlost elder brother Ganesan, who ran off after a particularly harsh punishment from his mother. It doesn't take long for Murugan to get a taste of the rowdyism in Chennai, as he is caught in the middle of the turf war between the two most powerful dadas Tamizharasu (Prakashraj) and Guru (Kishore). Meanwhile Murugan falls for Indu (Shriya) but ends up rubbing her the wrong way every time.

Thoranai is stuck with a really flimsy story and desperately tries to stretch it out to two and a half hours. This is particularly evident in the first half, before Vishal actually finds his brother. Having decided to make Vishal identify his brother only at the intermission point but unable to find ways to make the search itself interesting, the director makes him romance Shriya and goof around with Santhanam instead. But neither of the two holds our attention since the romance is listless and neither cute nor funny and Santhanam's shtick alternates between being repetitive (like his comments related to movies) and mean-spirited(like his comments about Paravai Muniyamma and others). The only thing they succeed in doing is lessening our emotional involvement in the film by making Vishal's search seem half-hearted and unconvincing.

Like Laadam, Thoranai starts off by placing Vishal between two men who are sworn enemies. As Prakashraj and Kishore both threaten Vishal by asking him to do things that conflict with each other, the film gives him the opportunity to play both of them and makes us wonder how he is going to do it. The stakes are also raised once his brother is thrown into the mix. But the story doesn't play out as expected and that turns out to be both good and bad. While the subsequent development provides the film's lone moment of surprise, it decreases the potential in the story by essentially taking one of the key players out of the equation. So, from a three-way competition, the film turns into another generic 'ordinary man vs powerful dada' tale and we've had quite a few of those.

As Vishal goes up against Prakashraj and comes up with different plans to pull him down, the film reminds us of films like Dhool, particularly when one of the plans uses the same basic idea as one of Vikram's plans. But Vishal's plans here are lacklustre and insipid and Prakashraj ends up looking like a simpleton considering his responses to those plans. Prakashraj's plan to pin Vishal down is, on the other hand, too complicated and doomed for failure from the word 'go'. The climax banks on a string of coincidences and contrivances and is neither convincing nor exciting.

Vishal seems to be gunning for the slot of poor man's Vijay, considering how much he copies his style, especially in the lighter scenes. From his expressions to his dialog delivery(including the halting and stammering way he mouths some lines), he reminds us of the Ilaya Thalapathy a bit too much. As always, he seems most at home during the fight sequences, though they don't seem to have been choreographed as well as in his other movies so far. Shriya is stuck in a cliched role and exists solely to be romanced by Vishal since we learn little else about her. Prakashraj breezes through another bad guy role while Kishore essentially plays a less clever version of the dada from Pollaadhavan. Mani Sharma's songs have a strong Telugu hint as always. Pelican Paravaigal... is picturized energetically while Vaa Chellam... features some nice locations.


At 5:43 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What else can you expect from Vishal, especially in an interview, he openly admitted he wants to act like Vijay.

At 8:14 AM, Anonymous ram said...

just like a comedian is only as good as his lines, a wannabe star is only as good as his screenplay...vishal's success in chellamey and sanda kozhi and his subsequent failures in sathyam and thoranai show how important screenplays are in movies that have flimsy stories...i was watching ghilli the other, oru kadhaiyum ille...aana dharani screenplay semma speedu baa!

At 2:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

i admire ur patience to watch and then write an elaborate review of a piece of junk like this

At 4:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

the thought of anyone having the *amibition* to be vijay is really mind-boggling to me. even vijay doesn't want to be vijay, he wants to be rajini. and rajini wants to be mgr. who wanted to be errol flynn.

vishal looks delicious but even i couldn't bear sandaikozhi.

At 5:12 PM, Anonymous arun.k said...

Anon (above), This is what I felt when I read your comment "vishal looks delicious..." :

Romba neram nalla pesikittu irundhaneyya....

At 5:20 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


vijay and vishal both wanna be rajini but don't have the balls to say so. few yrs back, vijay said " though my movies follow rajini movies formula, am being careful of not being like him".

what do you mean by 'delicious'? - he's plain UGLY!


At 9:19 PM, Blogger Balaji said...

anon, oh didn't know that :)

ram, oh definitely. screenplay is so important even for good stories. so indha madhiri padangalukku its even more important :)

anon, seen there done that. so many times :)

anon, that was very well put. but if a new hero wants to be a mass hero, i guess vijay is the closest role model :)

anon3, i thot vijay's been quite open about wanting to be the next rajni. he even uses rajni's famous dialogs, etc. in his movies :)

At 11:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

his looks >>>> his thamizh pronunciation

At 6:18 AM, Blogger Ganesh said...

Vey bad film.Won't give more than a 1*.:(

At 1:53 AM, Anonymous Sandya said...

Ram, 'Ghilli' was only a remake from the Telugu hit 'Okkadu.' The screenplay came from Telugu.. yedhukku anaavasyamaa Dharini-kku credit koduththu energy waste pannareenga?! :-) ;-)..

Wishful thinking if ever we continued to imagine that any of our current crop of directors have any skills left in screenplay writing. We'll have to start praying for the Sasikumars, Suseendrans and all those low budget newcomers to bail out tamil cinema at the rate at which it is currently going!..

Almost 75% through watching Vaaranam Aayiram today.. and the least I can say is, here's another director who desperately needs a great screenplay writer (cause he's no good at it!).. then again, Surya makes 'this-mush-of-a-screenplay' all worth it, of course! :-) ;-)

At 4:40 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

lol i haven't seen the movie yet but the story sounds very much like Sivakasi.

At 11:18 AM, Anonymous Ravi K said...

Sandhya, the credit on Tamil films should read:


At 7:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thoranai is not the 1st hopeless movie that Vishal has acted in. The smart thing for him to do would be to quit acting for good, and save the public from having to bear with his Vijay/Ajith wannabe antics. Frankly, he has nothing to offer, be it acting skills or screen presence for that matter (not to mention his blood-shot eyes). We all know that the only reason he appears in movies is that his family owns and runs a production company. Find a real job Vishal.


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