Thaanaa Serndha Koottam
Starring Suriya,Ramya Krishnan, Keerthi Suresh
Directed by Vignesh Shivan
Let’s face it, Neeraj Pandey’s Special 26 was not so special. A hodgepodge of espionage, heist, caper and satire in hindsight it seems like a pastiche stitched in a frantic hurry.
Now the Tamil version of the film takes the original hodgepodge , which was not so original considering it was based on the real-life ‘Opera House’ heist in Mumbai where a group of daredevils posing asCBI officers had raided a jewellery store and fled with valuables worth lakhs.
Special 26 was loud and its politics was at best garbled. ThaanaaSerndha Koottam goes many steps ahead in pursuit of the pulp that pilots the pulse of satirical celluloid scams. The one-note plot is expanded into a typical vehicle for Tamil superstar Suriya. I saw the film with crowds cheering shouting dancing for their idol who dares to be less than heroic by playing a role that requires him to be a greedy renegade.
Suriya plays the rogue who puts together the ragged bunch ofscamster, with a relish and flourish that echoes Akshay Kumar in the original.Suriya’s responsibility as a Tamil matinee idol is far greater than Akshay’s. Not only must Suriya uphold the tenuous dignity of the original(fraudulent) character he must also make sure his fans go away convinced that greed is good and cheating is desirable if your favourite actor is doing it.
So Suriya being Suriya he must take intermittent song breaks some of which have the film’s largely-ignored leading lady Keerthy Sureshjoining the revelry. Most of the way this is a boys’ film with RamyaKrishna joining in as one of the boys. Her motivations as a scamsterare unambiguous:she has a brood of young girls to support and get married. You can’t question a mother-hen’s clucking convictions no matter how creaky.
The supporting cast in Special 26 was the films’s redeeming backbone. In Thaanaa Serndha Koottam Suriya’s supporters are of no great importance. Director Vignest Shivan focuses almost wholly on making this a star-vehicle for his leading man. The dodderingplotline works fine as a one-man show with the rest of cast content to snigger and from the sidelines.
Some of the writing that is not derived from Neeraj Pandey’s film is actually quite interesting. In one sequence when the law threatens to catch up with Iniyan(Suriya) he thinks his father has locked himself in the bathroom to end his misery. But another tragedy happens minutes later. This is not a comment on karma. It’s actually a measure of how hard this remake tries to infuse a fresh take on the original . It is funny in a silly goofy amoral way that suggests the big hero up there is having fun with his friends. But hey guys, don’t try this at home.