Having gotten an early chance to see Thaandavam, I was all excited when I parked my two-wheeler at the Sathyam Cinemas parking lot. I was greeted by a large crowd of people and even a band of blind artists performing at the entrance. It's hard not to say that the expectations were huge for this one. Especially after the way things went with Deiva Thirumagal, I had real high hopes for Thaandavam.
Thaandavam features Vikram in the lead role and he plays the character of Shiva, an RAW agent who is dedicated to work. After getting married to Anushka (Meena), his work life leads him to hunt down a terrorist case and finding a device that might be potentially dangerous if it lands in the wrong hands. Upon his trip to London, he comes across the likes to Amy Jackson (Sarah) and Santhanam. After he is rendered blind from an accident, how he handles the situation and comes out on top is the selling point of Thaandavam.
Director Vijay was probably so impressed and comfortable with his last team that he decided to go with the same set again - Vikram, Anushka, Santhanam, G.V.Prakash Kumar and Nirav Shah are all retained and he film is made by UTV again. The story is very unique as well and brings a relatively new kind of tale to Tamil cinema. The film, shot in London, Delhi and some of the southern villages in Tamil Nadu is a good attempt by Vijay to move away from the regular masala flicks. The screenplay gets slow every now and then, but doesn't let you bored quickly.
Vikram is the pivotal point of the film, obviously and the script has been worked around his character well enough to keep things fairly interesting. Most of us already know what this guy is capable of, and he delivers yet again taking up a totally different role. His comedy sequences are a lot more natural and romances are subtle, yet enough to leave an impression. Unlike we might expect, he isn't blind for the entire film. That said, he looks good in either cases, playing the visually challenged protagonist or otherwise.
Jagapathi Babu, popular in Telugu cinema takes up one of the pivotal roles of the script and both his and Vikram's fitness levels add justice to their characters, which otherwise lack depth. He does get a fair share of screen time, even more than the leading ladies and it's good to see Vijay sketch the plot close enough to the supporting roles.
Anushka and Amy Jackson add credit to the characters they play, as little as they might be and make sure that you enough familiarity around, without getting bored. But, while they cannot be called unnecessary, they add little significance to the tale, which slowly shifts away from them all the while. Amy's sequences are kind of surplus to the film which has Vikram in the drivers seat. Lakshmi Rai does a guest role.
Santhanam and Nasser complete the cast list and have more impact on the film. The former still manages to add some light-hearted touches to the film even without having an important character and Nasser's pitch perfect performance as a Sinhalese police official is enjoyable every once in a while.
Nirav Shah's cinematography is as effective as always when the story moves around London and he proves his worth to the team. When compared to his previous films, he has done well in bringing out the dark nature. G.V.Prakash Kumar's songs, which appeared quite impressive upon first listening aren't used completely. However, the track 'Anicham Poovazhagi' is refreshing and has been executed well, all around.
The film could have been an excellent action thriller, but now, some audiences might demand something more after having expected a lot. The romance is breezy and even the humor jumps in, in a timely manner, but they do not make up for the fact that the audience aren't going to wait forever to see a point. The existing twists in the plot add excitement but flaws lack of detailing left behind at places takes it's toll. Amy's fluent Tamil, the presence of Tamil characters every, even the very corners of Britain remind you that this is indeed a Tamil film.
Overall, Thaandavam has it's good sides and it's bad ones. While the attempt to make this kind of cinema is interesting, the execution could have brought a much better experience to Tamil cinema. And right now, it just puts too much weight on Vikram's shoulders, and our man can't do the job all by himself. The film will open to full houses and will get applauded everywhere for efforts and it will be interesting to see how people receive such a different style of filmmaking.
Verdict - Totally worth watching, can get quenched with your expectations.