Thiruchitrambalam review: Bland film with a story past its sell-by date

The movie might work for those who don't grimace on hearing the logline "a guy chooses to love the one who loves him after being turned down by those loved by him."
Thiruchitrambalam poster
Thiruchitrambalam poster

Cast: Dhanush, Prakash Raj, Bharathiraja, Nithya Menen

Director: Mithran R Jawahar

Music director: Anirudh Ravichander

Synopsis: A food delivery agent (Dhanush) with a wounded childhood tries to make peace with his past and find love.

Rating: 2.5/5

CHENNAI: It's Dhanush's first theatrical release after 1.5/2 years. It is natural to hope the movie exceeds expectations as Mithran R Jawahar, second only to Vetrimaaran, has reunited with Dhanush for the fourth time. But, Thiruchitrambalam terribly falls flat and ends being a forgettable outing for the hit-duo.

The movie starts off with an accident and the scene flashes forward to the present where we're introduced to the cool, Thiruchitrambalam senior (Bharathiraja) and junior (Dhanush), grandson-grandpa who booze together. Bharathiraja impresses both as a comical old guy and an emotional bridge between the discordant son and father (Prakash Raj). It is a welcome step to cast Dhanush, as an underdog, in a light hearted movie, but the slipshoddy execution pours cold water on the attempt. 

A hero needn't necessarily save the world bruising villains, he can also heal a broken family. Mithran does succeed in designing Thiruchitrambalam junior as someone intimidated by violence, who doesn't look to do anything subliminal than do a 9-to-6 and listen to Ilaiyaraaja in any phase of mind. The gaping holes in the screenplay has made the exquisite performances of Prakash Raj, Dhanush, Bharathiraja and Nithya Menen to go in vain.

In a film where bets are heavily placed on family bonds, misunderstandings and patch-ups, we are left scrambling for a single emotional high point. Another huge problem with the narration is that the goal post keeps changing after underwhelming resolutions.

Thiruchitrambalam disappoints showing promises of a Vellai Illai Pattadhari (VIP) and a Yaaradi Nee Mohini (YNM) flavour initially. Those Dhanush films resonated with the audience big time as Raghuvaran (VIP) and Vasudevan (YNM) desired to create an identity for themselves grappling with the household ghosts. In this movie, on the other hand, the protagonist has no such existential crisis to face.

Characters except for those mentioned earlier, are badly written. Rashi Khanna plays a glam doll and perishes, Priya Bhavani Shankar only does a little more than an atmosphere artist.

Anirudh provides solace with his background score, trying to recreate the VIP magic. Megam Karukatha was visually appealing, and Thaai Kelavi was whistled and wooted to. Cinematographer Om Prakash traverses emotions through his lens effectively with the choice of colour palettes that distinguishes the first and second half.

Some lines too like, "en vayasukkum vazhura vaazhakaikum sammandham illa, en ulagame vera" (I am living an anachronic life, my world is really different from yours) instantly struck the chord with the youth of today. 

There aren't any mass scenes forced into the narration to cater to Dhanush's fans, but rather mass moments have been invented inherently. But this is no consolation for the audience left wanting for an engaging screenplay. The movie might work for those who don't grimace on hearing the logline "a guy chooses to love the one who loves him after being turned down by those loved by him."

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