Those who lapped up the delectably commercial part in 'Vettai' might want to watch 'Thadaka' expecting something more, but it must be borne in mind that the Telugu version is a dumbed down version of the Linguswamy-directed original.
It is the story of two brothers, Sivarama Krishna (Sunil) and Karthik (Naga Chaitanya). From the word go, we learn that the elder brother is meek and the younger one is gutsy. They grow up as each other's best pals in times of distress, though it never becomes clear why the mild-mannered and no-nonsense Sivarama always makes enemies in the town, so much so the onus of bailing him out of jeopardy falls upon Karthik, against whom four criminal cases have been filed with the police. Always worrying about the future of Siva, the inspector-father (Naga Babu in a cameo) breathes his last and it is when the late father's post is passed on to Siva.
As his misfortune would have it, Siva is posted in a city where lawlessness rules the roost due to Baaga (Ashutosh Rana gets to play a lengthy role after a long time). Baaga has an enemy in another dreaded thug and both have been at loggerheads, trying their best to keep the city under the thumb. The police station where Sunil is posted as Sub-Inspector is peopled by cowards, who shiver at the mere mention of Baaga's name.
Since Sunil was inveigled into accepting the job by Chai with the lure of Sunil being feared by one and all once he is in the khaki dress, the cop beseeches his brother to help him when a kidnap case involving one of the villains is assigned to him. For most part of the film, Chai is Sunil's shadow.
How do the villains come to know the identity of the real hero? What consequences will the brothers face when they have to confront a wounded Baaga, whose commercial interests and very existence are now threatened by Chai's presence?
The film is peppered with a few very modestly funny scenes and it must be said that not many may be enthused by the chemistry between Chai and Sunil. One wonders why Sunil is not allowing himself (may be the blame lies with his directors) to be fleshed out ; his diction and body language are easily forgettable.
The story almost stands still till the time when Sunil is hospitalised, it is a story without enough number of events. The bondage was not intelligently crafted.
What stands out as the biggest flaw is that the focus on elevating the emotional bondage is not enough as much as it is on heightening Rana's villainy. The tempo for the three fights in the first half is almost artificial in the absence of any emotional baggage in the lives of the two main characters. A story that doesn't move an inch for a good part of the first half doesn't warrant the fights, which are otherwise well-choreographed.
The film takes place in an India where the number of policemen per million population seems to be much lower than what it actually is in real life, so we see all operations being single-handedly tackled by the one-man-army, Sunil. The meek cop does turn into a bold one after some time, but his mental ability remains acutely low for ever. Thus we see him willingly enter the villain's adda thinking that there are much lesser goondas per million population than there are policemen for the same proportion, and says, "I know there are no more henchmen left with you."
Often we don't get to see how Chai accomplishes certain things in the new place, for example, how did he shift the massive illegal stock from the lorries to the train? Having watched the one-shadow-army do that beyond the script, it is not funnier to watch him overtake a speeding train, running!
What begins as a promising premise gives way to a predictable climax.
There are a few high points in Thadaka, but they are far between. Chai's performance is enjoyable to an extent. He shows promise in the power-packed role and it is a matter of some regret that he doesn't get to spout whistle-worthy lines. If Chai works, much of the credit must go to him as he seems to have consciously worked to improve himself, besides the cinematographer, the action choreographer, and the music director (Thaman's BG score for the fights is commendable).
Thammana is at her vivacious best. If she adds colour to the proceedings, Andrea Jeremiah's non-meaty role leaves much to be desired.
Ashutosh Rana looks menacing enough and his villainy, juxtaposed with Chai's heroism, works just fine. Brahmi, Rama Prabha, Vennela Kishore and Srinivas Reddy do their parts well. The comedy track involving them could have been better. Raghu Babu's police patriotism is a bit too much and it doesn't serve the story well. It would have made better sense if Sunil was made to spell lines that extol dutifulness and service to the nation.
Technically, Thadakha passes muster. Thaman, of late, has been falling short of expectations in giving hummable tunes. The choreography and other aspects like art and editing are of good quality.
Verdict: It is enjoyable with a few blips.
Released on: 10th May, 2013