Filmy Ruminations: Thoonga Vanam

Kamal Haasan’s last two movies would have made perfect sense at the board room with a clear focus on low fixed costs and high profitability. The mantra has been strikingly similar. Produce under the home banner RKFI, outline low budgets, act as the hero and mitigate the bulk of the cost, release across a reasonable number of screens and run across the profitability line in a jiffy. Unnai Pol Oruvan was an experiment in that direction, Thoonga Vanam reiterates it.
2015 takes us to the 80s’ when at least two or three movies of Kamal and Rajni would be released in a calendar year. We have already seen three releases this year and uncannily Kamal has played a doting father role in all of them. Uthama Villain showed it,
Papanasam extended it, Thoonga Vanam proved it. No more romancing around seems to be a realisation
The movie doesn’t waste any time and gets to the plot straight away. A 127 min movie without songs except at the end when the title credits roll is something that is good and refreshing at the same time. One expects to watch a Kamal movie and travel along with it. It is here that Thoonga Vanam has no gripping cause to keep the audience involved in the movie. So as spectators, the audience sit witnessing a sequence of events that unfold almost entirely in a pub with an ensemble cast and very little scope for humour. Unlike Papanasam, nowhere does the movie draw you in and empathise with the characters
Trisha seems to grow with good characters these days. This is one she will relish for a long time to come. You come to expect of certain high standards from Kishore and Prakash Raj and we are not disappointed.
Any debate on experimental cinema vs excessive masala pot boilers citing lack of sensible cinema should be laughed at. A song-less, jingoism-less is nowhere in the mind of the audience compared to the other major release of the Diwali season. Thoonga Vanam makes more commercial sense to the maker than a cinematic sense to the viewer constantly searching for ‘mass’ moments in a movie
For the novelty of story telling sans songs, go watch Thoonga Vanam. We need more of this cinema to keep us interested in the multiplexes around. Having said that, between sleepless night and Phantom, the audience verdict this Diwali clearly is a thumbs up to Mr. Phanthom – Vedhalam

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