Suriya Makes Special 26 His Own In Thaanaa Serndha Koottam

Thaanaa Serndha Koottam

Starring Suriya,Ramya  Krishnan, Keerthi Suresh

Directed by  Vignesh Shivan

Rating: **

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.

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