Madurai has become the favourite backdrop for most vendetta stories. Thagararu too has the backdrop of Madurai. And it has all the elements one can expect to find in a Madurai-based flick. But what makes it watchable despite this, is debutant director Ganesh Vinayak’s (directorial associate to Tharun Gopi, Simbu, S J Surya) slick narration; well fleshed out characters; consistency and the racy pace; and the twist in the end. Also, this is one film that captures the Madurai-ambience beautifully, and uses the location to advantage.
The story centres on four friends who are petty thieves. Their ‘novel’ way (seen in some earlier films) of robbing houses makes it to newspapers. They antagonise the powerful, and create enemies. When Pazhani, one of the four, is killed by an unseen hand, suspicion falls on the powerful men they had antagonised. There was the local bigwig who had hired the gang to steal an idol; a die-hard cop on their trail; and a ruthless loan shark whose daughter Meenakshi loved Saravanan (Poorna, Arulnidhi), one of the four. One can find shades of Thoonga Nagaram, another Madurai-based flick here. Arulnidhi essays Saravanan with competence, bringing in the various mood changes impressively. Poorna, a consummate actress, gets a challenging role and plays it with flair. Splendidly executed is the scene where the four break through the tight security and steal the idol of the goddess. Friends are usually sidekicks of the heroes. But here they are given quality space and independent fights. Played impressively by Pawan, Kshatriya and Murugadas, they come out as characters of flesh and blood.
The inherent humour in the earlier scenes brings in some light relief. How the four orphans came together and the strong bonding between them is capsuled in a song. An air of intrigue and suspense prevails in the latter half after Pazhani is killed, and a second friend assaulted. Well choreographed and shot are the fights where the three friends corner and assault each of their suspects. Rain is almost a character, the way the director uses it for the crucial moments in the second half.
The film could have been trimmed to make it crisper. The Mayilsamy-track seems an unwanted distraction. The finale is unusual and touching. Thagararu may be a Madurai story, but it manages to keep one engrossed for the most part, and is worth a watch.