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The worst nightmare of the criminal class, encounter specialist Birla Bose has eliminated over 30 wanted criminals so far. His next assignment takes him to the holy city of Rameshwaram, where the greatest challenge of his career awaits Bose.
Initial release: December 13, 2018 (USA)
Director: Dinesh Selvaraj
Thuppakki Munai Movie Review: Birla Bose (Vikram Prabhu, who looks the part), the protagonist of Thuppakki Munai, is the kind of no-nonsense encounter specialist who believes that the bullet in his gun already has the name of the criminal he has to kill. He takes pride in his kill count, but to his mother, a doctor, all that they mean are “sattai ellaam rathakkarai veedellaam pona naatham”. He doesn’t even regret his attitude towards criminals when his mother and his girlfriend, Mythili (Hansika, whose lip-sync continues to be terrible, even after all these years) chose to leave him.
Five years later, he gets an assignment that seems pretty straight forward – kill Azad (Mirchi Sha), a migrant worker from North India living in Rameswaram, who has brutally raped and murdered Manjal Nayagi, a 15-year-old girl. But just as he is about to kill the man, the encounter gets postponed over a trivial reason. Meanwhile, Bose starts having doubts over whether Azad is actually a criminal.
Dinesh Selvaraj’s Thuppakki Munai is quite a contrast to his debut film, Naalu Peruku Nallathuna Ethuvum Thappilla. While that looked at criminals without being judgemental, this one clearly draws the line when it comes to morality and justice. We know that the case of Azad is going to change Bose, and for quite a while, the film does maintain the intrigue around him. After a forced prologue, the film’s actual set-up keeps us engaged. We learn of cover-ups and a real threat to Bose himself! And then there is the emotional upheaval of a father of a young girl.
It all sounds exciting on paper, but the execution onscreen doesn’t quite match what we expect from a film in this genre. The tone keeps veering between gritty action and full-blown melodrama (though MS Baaskar is pretty good in these portions) and this robs the film of intensity. The portions involving Bose’s previous encounters feel like mere build-up for the hero while the romantic track, which is actually more of a non-romance, is so inelegantly shoehorned in. It’s a bummer that the director, who managed to avoid having a female lead in his debut film, cannot sidestep the pitfall in this film. Perhaps it is a compromise that he had to make given that he’s dealing with a well-known hero. At the same time, we also wish the mother-son conflict had been developed better. The antagonists, too, are mere placeholders with no real sense of character.
And the manner in which the conflicts in the plot get resolved is somewhat predictable. We even get a routine action block where the hero takes on the dozens of the villain’s underlings. But the film’s message, women’s