Tamil cinema has it’s own share of the whodunit genre. But we haven’t had a proper full-fledged detective genre. Of course, recently there was Thegidi (2014) where the protagonist was a detective, but Thegidi wasn’t an usual whodunit one. It differed in many ways. I’m talking about how Sherlock Holmes is to the outside India and how Byomkesh Bakshy is in Bengal! Just like Byomkesh Bakshy, we have had our share in fiction of detective based stories. The “Thuppariyum Kathaigal” by tamil vanan in which the detective went by the name ‘Shankar lal’. Similarly, the writer duo, Subah have also penned Tamil detective novels.
But none of these have resurfaced on the silver screen unfortunately. Somehow, Mysskin has come up with his idea of ‘Thupparivalan’ and has created the long awaited detective who is called as “Kaniyan Poongundran” and has finally brought in our hopes live of a detective franchise in Tamil cinema! This film definitely doesn’t look like it tries to be a film like Sherlock! It however is a tribute to Sherlock Holmes in our very own Mysskin’s trademark style. Mysskin has succeeded in giving us a very fine tuned product that deserves talking!
The ‘Philosophy’ behind the film!
You think the name ‘Kaniyan Poongundran’ is given just to raise the curiosity surrounding the character? Well, I completely disagree with it. That particular name is what defines the philosophy behind this whole detective thriller. Have you read the poem “Yathum Oore Yavarum Kelir” in “Purananuru” by Kaniyan Poongundran? If not, take a look at it and start reading this for better perception (English translation is also available). This poem can be split into 4 various aspects that it talks about. Firstly love, then fate, the fragile nature of life and finally, estimation of value of something. If one gives it a thought, We could see all of these aspects being incorporated fully in the film.
Love is what that binded all the characters. The case comes to the detective due to the love for a dog by a small boy. The detective himself falls in love with a pick pocketer. The villain gets into his field due to his love for his mother! Then, each death is set up in such a way that they look like a natural death. They make it look like it was the fate’s call from the above! Also, this fate’s call is in the form of lighting for one death which also is a comparison used in the poem! And in the poem, to draw comparison for the fragile nature of life, the poet brings in the example of ‘raft in water’ which again is exactly depicted in the climax of the film which happens on a boat! On the estimation of the value, in the film Vishal denies to take hold of a case that was going to fetch him 50 lakhs but takes a case of a small boy who loses his dog! Something that looked small on the surface was indeed that deep! Such a wonderful inspiration for a detective thriller right?
The World is created Perfectly!
When I watched this film on it’s first day in a theatre, many viewers who haven’t been exposed to films like Sherlock (Tv series also) weren’t able to connect with Vishal’s character in the film. And many viewers who have been watching series like Sherlock found Vishal’s portrayal to be quite pretentious. Now that’s what happens when something new resurfaces in Tamil cinema! We aren’t used to such kinds of experimentation. It does take time for us to accept the character. But as the movie proceeds, both the sections of audience were able to thoroughly enjoy Vishal’s character!
That’s where one could realize the depth of Mysskin’s writing. He made all the viewers part of the Thuparivalan’s world during the course of the time and they were able to connect with the character. Making the audience part of the world created in a tv series could be a easier task as the duration wouldn’t be a problem and it happens on it’s own. But being able to do that in a film that runs for about 2 hours and 30 minutes, Mysskin surely deserves a pat on his shoulders!
Vishal’s acting seemed a little fake in the starting but Mysskin has rightly extracted from Vishal on what would differentiate him from the rest of the detectives as the movie proceeded. The right pinch of myskinism to that detective is what differentiated him. If it wasn’t for that Mysskinism in the character trait, it would’ve seemed fake and pretentious!
Complex yet Simple!
The core plot of the film which is a series of murder, seems to be a very complex case but has been dealt in the most simplest manner suiting all sections of audience! Of course, we can’t expect revelations and cases to be quite complex like in a Tv series as there are certain restrictions of whether people would be able to contemplate it. Even then, the mystery element in this film doesn’t seem so simple. The writing is a mix of a complicated case given in the form of a very simple solution to it. It surely is an engaging watch even for fans of detectives who have been used to such complex treatment to mysteries!
The Path to the Killer is where the Real Suspense Lies!
I heard some sections of audience telling that since the answer to ‘who was behind the murder’ was shown to us right in the first half, there wasn’t much of a surprise element in the second half. If one could take some of the finest detective thrillers made, the suspense lies in the path that leads to the killer and not in the killer himself! Take detective Byomkesh also, the mask of the killer is removed in the first half itself, but the revelation occurs only in the climax! Even though, we know the true face of the killer, the suspense element in Thupparivalan stays intact! One of the reasons why the interval block gained an applause in my Theatre was because of the revelation in that scene! One could notice that, the killer was known to us even before that scene!
The Lag in the Second Half gets Nullified!
However, there was a slight lag in the second half which could’ve been avoided but it didn’t seem much of a problem when one sees at a wholesome package, as it gets nullified! Also, the scene where vishal leaves andrea to escape did seem as a flaw where in I genuinely expected a reason that would be discussed in the events that followed. But again, that can be forgiven to the cinematic liberty! There wasn’t a waste of an event as such in this film indeed. Like even the pick pocket trait of the heroine had a beautiful depiction towards the ending of the film.
Do watch this film and appreciate it as that’s when we would be deserved with more of such experimentation in Tamil films!