Director Vignesh Karthick blends two genres in his sophomore directorial, Thittam Irandu. The film is largely a whodunit thriller, evoking comparisons to Karthick Naren’s Dhuruvangal Pathinaaru. There is even a similar opening shot that has a masked killer going on a homicidal rampage on a silent, rainy night. The similarities don’t end there.
There are other coincidences: A suspect runs into a cop neighbourhood; later, a crucial phone call gets disrupted by poor network. SI Naveen here too, is somewhat like the sidekick in D16, Gautham. Where this film really makes a case for itself is when it gracefully evolves into a social drama.
It is then that it begins to touch upon sensitive topics like gender dysphoria, consent after marriage, honour killing... And this really is this film’s strength.
It comes as no surprise that Vignesh who made heads turn with his viral short film series, Yours Shamefully, has handled the social issues so well in this film. The downside though is that the strength that Thittam Irandu draws from being a ‘message film’ causes it to plummet as a whodunit.
As compensation—and fair compensation—comes the great visual treatment (cinematographer Gokul Benoy), which is ably aided by the score by Sathish Raghunathan.
The plot begins with the ‘who’ and ‘how’ knots placed at all the right points. It’s when the screenplay begins throwing up one too many red herrings and coincidences that it begins to lose its charm.
However, the final reveal works wonders and leaves you with a decent aftertaste. I enjoyed how it drops on you, and how this is foreshadowed. It shows intelligence, and I caught myself wishing that the entire screenplay showed such smarts.
Perhaps a good place to begin would have been to avoid placing a well-lit villa in a locality that is shown as the hide-out of a suspect.
Despite all that which happens in Thittam Irandu, Vignesh manages to fit a love story into the narrative. This relationship between the police inspector Athira (Aishwarya Rajesh) and Arjun (Subhash Selvam) is refreshingly written, and also enjoyable is how the former prefers to be treated not as a cop, but as a normal girl in the relationship.
It might have been lovely to see this romance evolve over time, but instead, voice-cues lead us into the future, not exactly focussing on their affinity.
Director Vignesh seems to have won half the game with the apt casting. Gokul Anand as the gold-hearted husband Kishore sells the character effortlessly and impresses with his subtle expressions. Aishwarya Rajesh once again proves that she is a powerhouse of a performer. Be it grief, shock, betrayal or pain, her tears do a lot of talking in this film. It is a delight to watch her closeups.
Somewhere in the beginning, a 12-year-old girl jumps into a raging river, despite not being a swimmer in an attempt to save her best friend. Later, she says, “Saving her was the only intention on my mind; it didn’t matter that I didn’t know how to.” This noble intention leaves a long-lasting impact on another girl. Director Vignesh too comes with noble intentions, even if he falls short of delivering a solid thriller. However, much like the girl did, he leaves behind a strong impression.
Director: Vignesh Karthick
Cast: Aishwarya Rajesh, Subash Selvam, Gokul Anand, Ananya Ramprasad
Streaming on: SonyLIV