Thupaki is a film which would have been this year's noteworthy film among dubbed movies had it had a better romantic track, music with Telugu nativity and a strong comedy (even if occasional). AR Murugadoss' story has some flaws, but since it has elements like terrorism & revenge, army patriotism and, above all, a hero who is super-adventurous, at least the urban audience is likely to warm up to it.
Captain Jagdish (Vijay) arrives in Mumbai on a vacation. He is besotted by his overpowering family members (father, mother and two sisters), who force him to see a girl. The girl, Nisha (Kajal Agarwal), looks demure and so, Jagdish rejects her.
Meanwhile, he accidentally catches hold of a jehadi in the city bus in which he travels. He pieces the clues all himself and concludes that a terrorist kingpin sitting somewhere in a distant land is using sleeper jehadis to plot explosions in 12 places in Mumbai. The high point comes in the first half when Jagdish, along with his fellow jawans, innovatively foils the bid of the terrorists.
A puzzled terrorist kingpin (Vidyut Jamwal) tries to find out who plotted the serial killings. (For once, serial killings and later, a suicide attack, are planned against the terrorists. What an idea, sirji!).
Jagdish hopes to finish Vidyut when he comes to confront him. The rest of the film is how Vidyut finds the identity of his enemy and plans to eliminate him, and how Jagdish keeps outwitting and outmaneuvering the other till the end.
First, the funny flaws. Presumably, all sleeper jehadis in Mumbai work for a single terrorist. Thus, eliminating him, Jagdish thinks, will keep the citizens of Mumbai free from the threat of terrorism for posterity. In our films, one wonders why the hero's enemies - be they international dons, political heavyweights or most-wanted terrorists - are invariably foolish enough to want to confront the hero directly. Seeing Jagdish waltz with fellow jawans in the marriage party hours before the scheduled bomb blasts, one wonders if he is the alter ego of Stalin, who leisurely preached the '3-to-3' theory in a calm fashion. The police don't care to investigate as to who killed the 12 jehadis. Vidyut finds it very easy to successfully execute a massacre and even plan 12 more blasts days after the historical event of jehadis getting killed by certain mystery heroes. Bomb blasts are treated like child's play.
Second, a comment on the Vijay-Kajal-Jayaram track. It is entirely Tamil in nature. Vijay being passionately dutiful, even going to the extent of obeying his boss in matters like selecting his bride, look quite weird.
Third, the songs were sub par. Vijay's dance moves have been tasted by us on television. Harris Jayaraj fails to give hummable tunes.
ARM builds up the tempo at every opportune moment. The ambitious plot required a little more seriousness and intensity. The director has not shown a strong reason why the hero had to go alone.
A film like this required a heavy dose lecture or two on patriotism, on the lack of political will to end terrorism, and on the epidemic of corruption among the forces who are expected to look after our safety. Instead, there is this insensitive suggestion that we citizens should be ready to give up our lives with the lofty goal of saving hundreds of lives in our minds. It is, actually, an offence to encourage civilians to sacrifice themselves in waging a battle that is the duty of the state.
The performances are fine. Vijay looks motivated, delivering a neat acting output. He must have put on the expression of emotional pain in certain scenes. Kajal, on her part, is in her elements. Vidyut is menacing and does his part well. Jayaram and Sathyan are not for the Telugu audience.
Technically, Thupaki scores good marks. Harris's BG score is up-to-the-mark, so also Santosh Sivan's cinematography. Sreekar Prasad's editing is fine. The action sequences are good to watch.
Released on: 13th Nov, 2012