DIRECTOR: A L Vijay
CAST: Kandasamy Vikram, Anushka Shetty, Amy Jackson and Lakshmi Rai
RUNNING TIME: 163 minutes
One of the most expensive films made in India, Thaandavam, displays a unique and captivating storyline that is very relevant today.
From the opening sequence the high-action tone of the movie is set, with a terrorist bomb explosion in London killing several people.
The film keeps you on the edge of your seat as it tells the story of a policeman, Shiva, (Vikram) who went blind because of the bomb blast yet learns the technique of echolocation which helps him to “see with his ears” and lead a normal life.
Following the opening scene, Shiva takes on another identity as “Kenny” and goes on a killing spree.
He shows no mercy to his victims while having no visual abilities. His target: the terrorists behind the bombing.
The story then shiftsto a series of flashbacks explaining how Shiva, the protagonist of the film, ended up on this path in life, starting from happier days when he could still see and was married to the love of his life, Meenakshi (Anushka Shetty).
The audience also learns of his brotherly friendship with Sharath (Jagapathi Babu) – a police colleague.
As the story unfolds the newlyweds move to Delhi but Shiva is then expected to get back on duty and move to London to undertake an important mission in the absence of Sharath.
The mission involves him stopping a group of militants who have stolen a weaponry invention from India.
Shiva soon gets trapped by the militants and is framed by them, making him a traitor to the country.
In this battle, Shiva escapes from their clutches and heads out to prove himself innocent.
His investigation reveals shocking truths. And with each step he comes closer to the mastermind behind this conspiracy. His goal becomes to beat the militants at their own game and to regain his and his country’s honour.
Set in London, the location is suited to the theme, and the storyline remarkably features a highly talented, phenomenal cast.
What was most impressive was Vikram’s acting.
Taking on a very challenging role as a blind man, he does an excellent job of it using echolocation to detect objects in his environment.
He really took on the character brilliantly and hats off to him for that. His portrayal on screen of great pain, anger, sadness and love was the highlight of the film.
Also noteworthy, was Amy Jackson’s portrayal of Sarah Vinyagam. She plays a British-born Indian girl who wins the Miss London title, and to build her social profile, goes to Kenny’s church and they become friends.
What’s particularly commendable is the actress’ ability to speak the Tamil language, despite only recently learning it for this movie. This underlines her commitment and determination to the role and she does a brilliant job.
Central to the film is also echolocation, where Kenny seeks help from expert echolocator, Daniel Kish (who is also a real-life expert echolocator, dubbed “the real batman” by CNN).
The film is an eye-opener for many to understand what the visually impaired face daily, yet they can still lead a normal healthy life. The underlying message is aptly described by an anonymous quote I once read: “the only disability in life is a bad attitude”.
All-in-all, Thaandavam is a brilliant film with good quality international language.
From the cinematography to the music, coupled with a bit of humour, and an unexpected twist at the end, it is a must-see and a film that should not be missed.