| After a string of movies(which featured increased lack of logic and dimishing
box-office returns with each new entry) where he played first cops and then
supercops, Vijayakanth turns to his second
most popular role - that of the gold-hearted, virtuous village elder who goes
through a crisis - in Thavasi. While the movie adds nothing new to the story
of the disgraced father, his obedient son and the father's ultimate salvation(infact
movies like Sooryavamsam handled it better), the screenplay manages to hold
our interest with some interesting conflicts and situations.
Thavasi(Vijayakanth) is the village elder, whose son Bhoopathy(Vijayakanth) is
doing agriculture research. Sankarapandi(Nasser) has earned Thavasi's ire by
marrying and then abandoning his sister and his request to have his daughter
Nandhini(Pratyuksha) married to Bhoopathy is also denied. Instead Thavasi
decides to get Bhoopathy married to Priyadarshini(Soundarya). When the temple
jewels are stolen, Thavasi charges Thangarasu(Sriman) with the theft and a
heartbroken Thangarasu commits suicide. But it is later revealed that he was
infact innocent. Egged on by Sankarapandi, Thangarasu's mother accuses Thavasi
of being responsible for her son's death and to make amends for his false charge,
Thavasi sends Bhoopathy to her house to replace Thangarasu.
Romance typically takes a backseat in Vijayakanth movies(the seat was even further
back in his recent cop movies!) but it is the interaction between Vijayakanth
and Soundarya that makes the initial portions enjoyable here. Soundarya's confusion
after Vadivelu introduces himself as her suitor and Vijayakanth's helplessness
after seeing the servant maid placed there by Soundarya are funny and cute. With this romance
and the fights, the older Vijayakanth lurks only in the background during these
portions.But Vijayakanth's request to the woman to stop the wedding since she doesn't
look good could've been avoided. It is hurtful and doesn't help his image.
Vijayakanth spotting Sriman in the temple is the first sign of an impending crisis
and we are not disappointed. Sriman's suicide makes things interesting since the older
Vijayakanth has apparently committed a huge mistake and the punishment he metes
out - of sending his son to 'replace' the dead son - is quite new. His mistake
and the guilt he feels because of that are what make the story enjoyable from
that point. But instead of keeping things interesting, the director chooses to wrap
things up a little too cleanly by way of a lame and predictable climax that helps him
come out looking spotless. But the climactic fight itself at the marriage hall is well
choreographed and executed.
Vijayakanth has quite a few insults heaped on him by Ponnambalam as he is treated as
a servant at Sriman's house. But since we know that Ponnambalam will get his
comeuppance soon enough, these portions are enjoyable because of the anticipation.
The other problems, like the dowry problems of the elder sister and the attempted
rape of the younger sister by Ponnambalam, at the household that Vijayakanth helps
solve are also passable even if simplistic and help keep the story moving. There are
some sentiments between Vijayakanth and Jayasudha but these are not overdone.
Vijayakanth doesn't do much to differentiate between his two roles with respect
to gestures or mannerisms and so its just the make-up that does the job. The
special effects director too has little to do with the two roles rarely appearing
in the same frame. Soundarya looks cute while Jayasudha, appearing in Tamil after
a long time, is adequate as the dutiful wife and affectionate mother. Acting honors
go to Nasser who manages to jazz up another routine villainous role with a nice
smirk while taunting Vijayakanth. Nasser enjoys himself in the scene where he
confronts Vijayakanth at the marriage hall. Vadivelu's individual encounters with
the mad man are loud and unfunny but he is tolerable when paired with Vijayakanth.
Pratyuksha is on hand for a single duet. Vidyasagar has had some hit soundtracks
recently but Thavasi is definitely not going to be added to the list.