Screenplay and Direction
Technical Aspects and BGM
A hauntingly performed drama!
When cinema is viewed as a commodity these days and categorized into A, B and C centers, here is a filmmaker who puts up a towering display of an unflinching passion for his characters and craft. Thaarai Thappattai is a hauntingly performed drama with Bala’s fearless artistry in full display.
Cast: Sasikumar, Varalaxmi Sarathkumar, RK Suresh, GM Kumar & others
Choreography: Baba Baskar & Brinda
Art Direction: CS Balachandar
Editing: G Sasikumar
Written & Directed by: Bala
Produced by: B Studios & Company Productions
Release Date: 14-01-2016
Run Time: 02:08:00
Bala’s films are long known for emotionally uplifting experiences and his seventh outing Thaarai Thappattai stamps his class far and wide. When cinema is viewed as a commodity these days and categorized into A, B and C centers, here is a filmmaker who puts up a towering display of an unflinching passion for his characters and craft.
Bala’s fond for social outcasts and misfits has always reflected in his films. He has kept intact in Thaarai Thappattai his reputation for creating life-affirming portrayals and commending blood curling moments. (Stay away from the film if you have a weak stomach; there is a reason why it is certified A).
Bala’s unshrinking approach to bring on screen forgotten tales of Tamil culture and tradition makes him one of the ultimate and original story-tellers in K’town.
The film revolves around a struggling dance troupe called Thaarai Thappattai spearheaded by Sannasi (Sasikumar) and his money-spinning lead Karagattam dancer Sooravali (Varalaxmi Sarathkumar).
Bala’s exploitation of characters leaves you staggered between admiration and exasperation. While the authentic portrayal of the lives of Karagattam dancers produces admirably touching scenes, the unexpected moments of brutality, especially in the last thirty minutes, bring exasperated gasps among the audiences. There is a tinge of manipulation visible in the latter half of the film, but one can easily let it fall between the cracks since the overall rhythm is fair and square.
The first half overflows with plenty of abuses, routinely lewd jokes, and irreverent comments. The story registers the life-style of Karagattam dancers and Bala remains true to the context without any deliberate manipulation to appease viewers. Watch any Karagattam dance troupe perform by the countryside and that’s how ‘most’ of them carry themselves. One cannot definitely complain about profanity in a world of unrestrained characters like these. That’s how they are and that’s how it’s portrayed. It’s like crying foul at the waiter for serving non-vegetarian food in a non-vegetarian restaurant. Deal with it.
The second half is where the film goes a little off track. The gargantuan iniquity of the antagonist is incredibly hard to believe and makes Karuppaiya, played by RK Suresh in a sterling debut performance, one of the most loathed Bala villains.
Ilaiyaraja background score accentuates the mood of the film at every juncture and makes us delve deep into the lives of dancers unknowingly. Bala’s placement of songs is so spot-on that you will relish them unlike other films where you take a Twitter break the moment a song breaks out.
Varalaxmi Sarathkumar stages a once-in-a-lifetime performance with her dazzlingly uninhibited portrayal of a crass, loud-mouthed and randy dancer. She revitalizes the character of Sooravali with infectious energy and booming laughter. She also puts to use some foot-tapping choreographic skills which will regale you. Sasikumar has done complete justice to the role of Sannasi as a right-minded lead of the dance troupe in the first half and as an anguish-filled revenge seeker in the second half.
Toting up, Thaarai Thappattai is a hauntingly performed drama with Bala’s fearless artistry in full display.
Tharai Thappattai Movie Review Rating: 3.5/5
Written by Surendhar MK