“If you obey all the rules, you miss all the fun.”
Being rated as one of the best film makers, can be a boon or a bane to lot of people who have either withered away with time or carried the burden of expectation firmly on their shoulders. Fortunately Mani Ratnam falls in the latter category but unfortunately too, he has made movies which though being good had to be weighed in the glory of past.
Thiruda Thiruda released in 1993 is a clear example of being an underrated flick. When internationally renowned and acclaimed directors dabble with different genres and are appreciated for their efforts, we still never fail to seize an opportunity to pull a person down or to dismiss an attempt. India has rarely produced any notable action adventure heist capers, which are entertaining and provides your full value for money in its grandeur and execution. Barring a Shaan or some obscure films , this genre is fairly untapped and not many directors have experimented unlike their Hollywood counterparts
CBI Inspector Laxminarayan(S P Balasubramanium in a role of his lifetime) is assigned the task to track down the heist of fresh printed bank notes amounting to the sum of an absurd 1000 Crores from the Nasik government security press, masterminded by T T Vikram(Salim Ghouse) from London. Tracing the clue to Chandralekha(Anu Agarwal) who escapes with the key card of the container that holds the money, she comes across Kadir(Anand) and Azhagu(Prashant). Both are country side thieves on the run along with Rasathi(Heera Rajgopal) who helps them in getting out of a tricky situation while doing their theft and even she is trying to escape from the clutches of her uncle and his henchmen.
Meanwhile Vikram lands in India in search of Chandralekha as she even disappears with the stolen money of Kadir and Azhagu too. They get hold of her bag where the card key is kept but had secluded Rasathi on their way and later realise the folly of leaving her behind, for she is being forced in a marriage with her own uncle.
The rest of the movie is how all these characters play a cat and mouse game in the quest to obtain that container in an entertaining manner filled with breath taking visuals, path breaking music and background score put to thrillingly orchestrated action pieces.
Ram Gopal Varma seems to have paid back his obligation to Mani Sir who helped him in the script of Gaayam by writing the story here. Partly inspired from his own heist caper Kshana Kshanam, which he later re twisted with disastrous results in Daud(It has a decent following now with people enjoying it on TV).
But the person for whom Thiruda Thiruda will still be remembered and undisputedly so has to be only and only A R Rahman. The second collaboration with Mani Ratnam after making his debut with Roja, he delivers a path breaking soundtrack where words fall short to praise. No adjectives can suffice the greatness of the sound produced here and it still remains the best among hardcore fans who have been following his music from early days.
Be it the grand orchestrated Veerapandi Kottaiyele, the hauntingly beautiful capela Rasaathi, the energetic Kannum Kannum, the enchanting Chandrelekha, the refreshing and ethereal Putham Pudhu Bhoomi Vendum or the terrific fusion Thee Thee, Rahman goes wild and how. It was a never before heard sound in 1993, which broke all creative barriers and made every music album pale around and can compete with any soundtrack many notches higher even now.
The action sequences still remain a highlight replete with chases and thrills and it is to the achievement of Mani Ratnam that he has ensembled it with a lot of energy and adrenaline. The climax where the characters clash together atop a moving train is one of the best I have seen and it’s a difficult task accomplished by the technicians and crew. Though the technique of flashing lights in an action scene was earlier used in Agni Natchathiram during the hospital climax, but it stands apart more here. Watch the video and you wont be disappointed.
P C Sriram is the second hero of the film and it must have been a difficult job to shoot this adventure ride as there are a lot of chaos scenes involving trains, jeep, bikes, horses etc in a wide canvas. It is to the credit of him, that a lot of sequence matches up to the technical effeciency of recently released movies too.
The cast comprises mostly of unknown faces and character artistes like Prashant, Heera Rajgopal, Anand, Salilm Ghouse, Anu Agarwal and everyone does a competent job. Maybe it was a conscious decision by Mani Sir to not opt for any known stars and keep the theme and its entertainment quotient as the highlight without utilising the image of any recognised faces.
Tad unnecesarily lengthy for some parts and not so memorable characters are the only weak aspects and if one is willing to overlook this part, Thiruda Thiruda is Mani Ratnam’s way of breaking away from his more serious relationship and socio-political dramas. Having re-visted it again a few days back, it may not be a classic by any standards if judged to his previous body of work (except Pagal Nilavu & Idhaya Kovil), but is a fun ride nevertheless and makes for solid entertainment. Enjoy.
Read more reviews on MANI RATNAM BLOGATHON:
1. Pallavi Anupallavi (Kannada) 2. Unaroo (Malayalam) 3. Pagal Nilavu (Tamil) 4. Idaya Kovil (Tamil) 5. Mouna Ragam (Tamil) 6. Nayagan Tamil) 7. Agni Natchathiram (Tamil) 8. Geethanjali (Telugu) 9. Anjali (Tamil) 10. Thalapathi (Tamil) Take 2 Thalapathi (Tamil) 11. Roja (Tamil) 12. Thiruda Thiruda (Tamil) 13. Bombay (Tamil) 14. Iruvar (Tamil) Take 2 Iruvar (Tamil) 15. Dil Se…(Hindi) Take 2 Dil Se…(Hindi) 16. Alaipayuthey (Tamil) 17. Kannathil Muthamittal (Tamil) Take 2 Kannathil Muthamittal(Tamil) 18. Yuva (Hindi) 19. Aayutha Ezhuthu (Tamil) 20. Guru (Hindi) 21. Raavanan (Tamil) 22. Raavan (Hindi)