Thadam movie cast: Arun Vijay, Tanya Hope, Vidya Pradeep
Thadam movie director: Magizh Thirumeni
Thadam movie rating: 3 stars
Though the concept of hero playing twins has been attempted far too many times in Tamil cinema over the years—starting from PU Chinnappa, MGR, Sivaji Ganesan to Rajinikanth, Kamal Haasan, Ajith—more recently—Surya, Dhanush and now Arun Vijay—it’s seen as a safe bet by the industry. Such films work because of the starkly contrasting characters. One is good. The other, obviously, is evil.
In Thadam, Magizh Thirumeni treads the same path with a different approach. Arun Vijay plays Ezhil (a construction engineer) and Kavin (a conman). Ezhil drives a BMW and is hopelessly in love with Deepika (Tanya), a film reviewer. She eventually decides to quit her job because she is fed up of reviewing six films a week. (I giggle to myself.) It is not surprising when Ezhil asks her out. Both are drawn to each other and romance blooms.
Kavin, on the other hand, gambles, indulges in theft and deceives people for money. An NRI gets murdered in the city. Who murders him and why it happens — come with twists and turns. First Ezhil gets nabbed by the police. Then you also find Kavin in jail. Things begin to heat up when they meet. It is this tricky writing that makes Thadam engaging. Magizh spends so much time in establishing each of his characters step by step, and it’s all tied together perfectly in the end.
At first glance, Thadam, inspired by real events (the director gives us the statistics towards the end, culled from reports), comes across as a pretty straightforward urban thriller. But as the layers peel, you discover it is cleverly written—in parts. It has a gripping screenplay and has all the trappings of a good murder mystery. There is a twist at every turn. Many times, it is not the answer you expected, and sometimes it is exactly how you thought it would be. Both Kavin and Ezhil have backstories and how they behave and react are a direct result of their past and upbringing. You see Sonia Aggarwal in the flashback, too.
Thadam has its share of problems. There are some far-fetched moments, but the constantly-changing plot covers those glitches. For instance, the romantic portions between the lead pair (Ezhil and Deepika) could have been lesser—considering it is a thriller. Again, in a couple of scenes, Magizh does spoon-feeding and we get to see the names ‘Kavin’ and ‘Ezhil’—literally on the screen—so that we don’t end up confusing between both. I don’t understand the need for him to show who’s who when we realise they are ‘different’.
Arun Vijay, whom we last saw playing Thyagu in Mani Ratnam’s Chekka Chivantha Vaanam, is in top form and pulls off both roles with ease. He has worked hard to show us the subtle differences between Ezhil and Kavin. Vidya Pradeep needs a special mention and manages to hold your attention undivided right through as Malar.
The second half of Thadam—in particular—the last twenty minutes is so good that you tend to even forgive its flaws. Magizh Thirumeni builds up the tension slowly and sustains it till the very end.