'Thiruvin Kural' movie review: Promising premise with not-so-sound results

Arulnithi has become synonymous with thrillers, and his latest is a half-decent addition to this list
'Thiruvin Kural' movie review: Promising premise with not-so-sound results

Thiruvin Kural begins on a dark and rainy night where a teenage girl walks all alone on a deserted street. She hears noises, and fearfully looks around to see what happens. We see four men with sickles, knives, and lecherous looks circling her. The men look like the third-tier henchmen of the main antagonist we have often seen in our commercial entertainers. Deep down, we know what is going to happen next because there is no chance our tall and handsome hero would let anything happen to her, especially since this girl is his niece. However, we will have to wait an hour and a half for the narrative to reach this point again, as we go back in time to acquaint ourselves with the world of Thiru (a competent Arulnithi), which consists of a doting family headed by the much-loved patriarch, Marimuthu (an effective Bharathiraja). This detour isn’t really necessary, and it is just a case of excesses, which is something that the film finds itself constantly doing.

Thiru is partially deaf and mute, but impressively, it is not a major plot device. Apart from a solitary hurried scene, there never is any allusion to Thiru not being able to speak or hear properly. Points to the makers for not trying to milk sentimentality out of it too. The romance involving him and Bhavani (Aathmika) is completely organic and feels like just another blandly written love track in our commercial films. In fact, just like any garden variety masala entertainer, the heroine goes missing for a large chunk of time, and no one really misses her. Considering the niece has a stronger role to play in the film, and has an actual impact on the narrative, why bother having an underwritten role for Aathmika that underserves the purpose of including her role in the film?

Thiruvin Kural is essentially about a doting son, who is forced into a dangerous predicament after his father is admitted to the government hospital. A series of unfortunate incidents later, Thiru finds himself fending off a set of deranged antagonists who have no scruples or ethics. In some ways, Thiruvin Kural showcases the stark reality of how vulnerable patients are in hospitals, and how sections of the system can take advantage of it all. We see Thiru running from pillar to post with his sickly father just because the villains want him to suffer a painful reality instead of a swift death. However, I was more involved with how the system is against the very people it serves. It was scary to think how easy it is to be manipulated by such notorious people in these huge hospitals, and that reality was nothing in comparison to what unfolds on screen. 

In any mass masala entertainer, the hero is only good as the villain he faces. Over the years, we have seen many films where the antagonists are so fangless that we don’t perceive any real threat to the hero and his loved ones. However, director Harish Prabhu ensures we have one less thing to complain about the film by writing strong villains, whose motives are pretty straightforward. They are government hospital employees by day, and ruthless murderers by night. The randomness of their murder spree, the nonchalance of it all, and the creepy smile they all sport is chilling to a considerable effect. In fact, they are so good as the antagonists that the writing doesn’t do justice to their villainy.

The same holds good for Thiru, who is just the recipient of one too many uncanny but fortunate coincidences. One can’t help but think of how he finds himself at the right place at the right time every single time. Interestingly, in two such moments, Harish weaves in surprising subversions that are, unfortunately, not given breathing space. With most of the altercations between the hero and the villains happening in closed locations, Thiruvin Kural is elevated by the cinematography of Sinto Poduthas but is unfortunately bogged down by the coercive music by Sam CS.

Arulnithi has become synonymous with thrillers, and his latest is a half-decent addition to this list. With a promising premise, interesting antagonists, and convincing performances, all that Thiruvin Kural needed was a bit more focus, a little more ingenuity, and slightly more strength in its voice.

Director: Harish Prabhu
Cast: Arulnithi, Bharathiraja, Aathmika, Ashraf

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