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Movie Review: Thagapansamy (2006) Back to Movie
Rate movie A movie review by Balaji Balasubramaniam
Fans Rating: 70%%70%% 70% (8 votes)
Movie Still Like Rendu, Thagappansamy also seems like two separate movies in its two halves. After starting off looking like a movie about the travails of a drought-stricken village, it changes track completely post-intermission to turn into a movie about bonded laborers and their savior. While the first half is realistic and absorbing, the second half is so cinematic, outdated and silly that it completely negates the good things about the first half and then some.

Kathivelu(Prashanth), a clown/dancer in the village of Paaraipatti, feeds the rest of the villagers with the meager earnings he manages. When a drought hits the village, the villagers want to head out but Kathirvelu, resolute about not leaving his village, decides to dig a well and hires a renowned digger(Mahadevan) for the job. Love also blossoms between Kathirvelu and the digger's daughter(Pooja). The digger is optimistic but things don't work out as expected. So Kathirvelu and the villagers head to Rajasthan for a well-paying job but the job is not what they expected.

The film initially looks like a realistic film about the struggles of villagers whose land is hit by drought. Their troubles evoke sympathy and the images and sequences remind us of films like KB's Thanneer Thanneer. The characters and the setting are realistic and so their travails move us. We understand their struggle to choose between staying in their own land hoping for rain and moving to a new place hoping to earn a livelihood. There are some very sharp yet matter-of-fact lines that illustrate their situation.

The movie then appears to turn into one of those inspirational movies where villagers, having been let down by the government, overcome their troubles on their own. Here again it maintains realism as the villagers place their hope in Prashanth and the well-digger. We share their hopes and dreams and also their sadness when those hopes are dashed.

After the sober and realistic proceedings, the route the movie takes after the villagers move to Rajasthan comes as a very unpleasant surprise. The villagers only go North but the place they land up in makes it seem like they have moved back in time to end up in the 60s or 70s! Vincent Asokan, in both his costume and behavior, reminds us of the ever-popular zamindars in movies from those times and the whole setup of the estate where no one can escape from is presented in a very unbelievable manner. Cliched characters, like the villain's sister who develops a liking for the hero and a corrupt lady cop in cahoots with the villain, make their appearance and there is some ill-suited, crude comedy as the movie takes one wrong step after the other.

Unsurprisingly, Prashanth too transforms from the realistic hero of the first half to the familiar larger-than-life hero who has to save the villagers, in the second half. The tale becomes quite allegorical and the the similarities to the tale of Jesus(there is even a crucifixion-style scene) are hard to miss.

Prashanth, still looking for that elusive hit, gives his everything to the role. He is soft and mellow as the role deserves initially and then becomes driven as he tries to get the villagers out. Pooja doesn't suit the role of the village belle but makes it easier to accept her with a good performance. Namitha, in a small role, appears fully clothed and maybe because the focus in on her face, actually looks cute. Vincent Asokan plays his role the way his dad did in the past but it irritating in this time of quietly menacing villains.

Rate movie A movie review by Balaji Balasubramaniam