Theri has attained blockbuster status in south and has surpassed Akshay Kumar’s Airlift in foreign circuits. It has grabbed Akshay’s attention so much that he has initiated talks to acquire rights for its Hindi remake. The promos looked great from the beginning and the presence of Vijay ensures that it will never be a drab and boring affair. So I walked into this film with mixed expectations and I am walking out of it with mixed feelings. The film was sensational in parts and average in some others. While it is plagued by the same problem that plagues most south Indian films, the problem of believability, the film packs enough punch and panache through its principal cast to ensure those who buy the tickets have enough to cheer about and have a great time.
The story revolves around an uptight and inhumanly powerful Deputy Commissioner of Police Vijay Kumar (Vijay) who falls in love with a girl. Just when he settles into holy matrimony with her and all feels blessed, disaster strikes and his mother and wife are brutally murdered. On the moment of her death, Vijay’s wife requests him to get out of the life of a cop and also keep her infant daughter safe. Vijay turns a new leaf and becomes Joseph, a perfect father who is exactly the opposite of who Vijay was. But as luck would have it, he is soon discovered by an old foe who comes after him with all he has got to settle an old score. Vijay must now re-discover his long lost self to fight for whatever he holds dear.
This is a highly stylized film which relies heavily on style and editing to amp-up its ante. There are plenty of action sequences to please those who are in for the fights and yet somehow it is able to maintain a sweet balance between the violence, drama and comedy. Vijay has been doing colossus action sequences leading up to this and he is way too comfortable to make any real mistakes. The fact that he is so likeable even when he is committing murder only adds to his charm as an action hero. The stunt choreography is also solid and packs a punch. The film is shot beautifully. This is something I have noticed with South Indian films. They are almost always superbly shot and colored. I can’t tell you how much it helps to get immersed in a narrative that is beautiful to look at. The editing is smooth. That’s another plus for an action film.
Apart from the action, the film’s next highlight is the chemistry between the actors. The first half has some really innocent and yet powerful drama between Vijay and baby Nainika. She is extremely natural and affective in her essay. Their chemistry feels real and you mince your teeth every time the safety and security of the girl is at stake. The chemistry between Vijay and Samantha who plays his wife is great. Their romance is chirpy and I felt invested in their story. I wanted to see where their story goes. The manner in which Samantha’s character is killed is even more shocking. This is another key element of the film. It changes moods and gears so quickly and smoothly that you can’t help but be impressed by its achievement. it alternates effortlessly between the racy action sequences and the soft and chirpy romantic moments.
The only under-cooked part remains the love angle between Amy Jackson’s character and that of Vijay. This story needed more development to make an impact. This was the same problem that Amy’s character suffered from in Thandavam and the same happens here too. J Mahendran makes for a great baddy. You can actually feel his angst and hatred for Vijay as the two have simple dialogs. His take of the character is simple and yet effective. He doesn’t have a very long role but makes the most of what is given to him. Rajendran , the scintillating villain from Naan Kadavul is a good guy here and he is amazing in his act.
Overall, Theri is a crowd pleaser which has the potential to rise above its level every now and then thanks to the endearing performances of its lead actors. The action is well choreographed and is sprinkled all over the narrative to give you the “tadka” that you go in expecting from a Vijay film. The music is nothing extraordinary but has its own place. Theri is old wine in a new package but that doesn’t mean that it’s not good. Infact it’s rollicking.
Rating : 3/5 (3 out of 5 Stars)