Thittam Pottu Thirudara Koottam Review: A heist film that can't rise above mediocrity
A film that is functional but refuses to rise above the ordinary
Thittam Pottu Thirudara Koottam begins with a couple of disclaimers. One says the film doesn’t advocate or glamourise thieving. Another clarifies that the film is purely fictional, apart from the Mumbai World Cup match that is shown to happen in Chennai. Budget problems, of course. I quite like films that are self-aware of what they set out to achieve. They make this quite clear to us with another disclaimer --‘no logic, only magic’. Though the magic didn’t charm me much, I wasn’t cursed with disappointment as well.
The performances really try hard to sell the magic though. We have Sethu (Parthiban), who owns an antique shop that he uses as a front for selling illegal antiques. Shiva (Chandramouli) plays the Hacker from Kollywood™. There’s a lockpicking expert in the mix, Kambi Gajaa (Daniel Anne Pope) and a police constable as well (Chaams). None of these characters are particularly unique, but the performances bring credibility to the entire premise. Parthiban, Chaams, and Daniel especially get a few funny moments each (a few flat ones as well). Chaams, especially, with his chaste Tamil speaking role, reminded me of the antics Sandy and the boys are up to in Bigg Boss Tamil 3. There isn’t much to remember though. You smile and move on.
Cast: Parthiban, Chandramouli, Daniel Anne Pope, Chaams, Satna Titus
Fortunately, TPTK doesn’t dilly dally too much. The gang is out to rob the World Cup trophy and the film thankfully sticks to this. There is a love angle, but not much time is spent on it. There are no homosexual characters introduced for ‘comic relief’, which seems to be a trend now. The editing is pretty sharp, and several scenes from the trailer don't end up in the final film. Real footage from the match also finds a place at the right places. It does differ in tone and the inconsistency is obvious. But the effort is heartening.
And yet, the film rings basic and fails to rise above it. And what is it with every Tom, Dick, and Harry having self-referential dialogues in films these days? I could understand, and enjoy, a Parthiban having such lines (Kundakka Mandakka and Puthiya Padhai get hinted at). But Chandramouli getting referred to as ‘Anjana Purushan’? And the ‘Indhiran Chandiran’ gag. This is another trend Kollywood should put to rest.
After my show for Thittam Pottu Thirudara Koottam got cancelled at three different theatres, I ended up catching an afternoon show. I was in the presence of three people, the staff of the theatre. This week’s big release Namma Veetu Pillai has a line saying ‘Thittam Pottu Thirudara Koottam’ and that could well be the biggest promotion done for this film whose release was mired in much uncertainty. These release issues are for another day. Right now, I am just happy I have survived this week at the cinemas fairly unscathed.