Updated: July 31, 2021 9:25:05 am
Thittam Irandu aka ‘Plan B’ sounds like a title well-suited for a heist film. Director Vignesh Karthik’s latest film does involve a heist, but there are enough twists and turns to blindside you. If you have watched the film’s trailer and have a set idea in your mind, let us assure you that Thittam Irandu will lay waste every single assumption of yours.
The film opens with a scene, which is a staple in movies involving a psychopathic serial killer. It is late at night and it’s raining. The killer arrives on a black scooter, wearing an all-black ensemble and completing his ‘murder wear’ with a black helmet. He’s limping, and gives an impression of a handicap. But, he is capable of scaling the front gate of the house, where his poor, unsuspecting victim is fast asleep. So we think.
The setup is a cliche, and we have seen it multiple times already in assorted films. And that’s what Vignesh wants. He wants the audience to go into the film with a preconceived notion about what’s about to unspool. In that state of mind, the audience would relax and let their guard down, which sets them up for a slew of surprises that Vignesh has up his sleeve.
Vignesh has this clever idea to exploit the trappings of the whodunit genre to his advantage and subvert the expectations of the audience. But somewhere between conceiving a clever idea and fleshing it out, the director loses his own vision. He seems so obsessed with the final payoff, he forgets to construct a compelling course of events that makes the final reveal as ground shaking as he imagined it to be.
Even the core conspiracy in the movie is not as puzzling as he wants it to be. It is because neither his screenplay nor characters inspire us to care for what’s happening in the story.
Athira, a high-ranking cop, played by Aishwarya Rajesh, becomes obsessed with a missing case. The woman, who has gone missing, is her childhood friend Surya. Aishwarya, however, hardly makes an effort to make us feel the pain of her character’s loss or the burden of her obsession. She looks and behaves so casually, making it hard for us to buy what the film is selling. Not to mention the romantic exchanges between Athira and Arjun, which are so cheesy. You see glimpses of Gautham Menon in Athira’s voice-over dialogues and her initial conversations with Arjun. And then we see a bit of Mysskin in the mix, particularly in the scene where Athira bumps into the killer and begins to chase him.
Working one’s inspirations into his work is not wrong. It is how many of the great filmmakers have been making good movies since the inception of cinema. But, it has to be done with an aesthetic sense combined with some original thinking.
Vignesh should have had the awareness that he was not breaking any new ground by simply opting to explore the complexities of gender identity in Thittam Irandu. He is not pioneering anything. Several filmmakers in the past have already attempted different versions of the said matter cinematically. He should have been creative and inventive with the form, instead of completely relying on the end message to redeem his shortcomings as a filmmaker.
The grave failing of Vignesh is he fails to make the audience care for what’s going on in the film. One can only wish that he had an alternative approach to the plot that effectively used the cleverness of his idea. You know that film has failed to achieve its desired impact when its creator finds it necessary to add a voice-over at the end to hit you over the head with the film’s message, afraid he may not have accomplished it in the last two hours.
Thittam Irandu is streaming on SonyLiv.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines
- The Indian Express website has been rated GREEN for its credibility and trustworthiness by Newsguard, a global service that rates news sources for their journalistic standards.