Yenni Thuniga Movie Review: A decent thriller that has one too many rough edges
Yenni Thuniga knows its strengths, and its limitations, and could have been a much better film if some rough edges were trimmed, but it is no pushover film either
Yenni Thuniga begins in Los Angeles. A group of seemingly ruthless international criminals goes about killing people wanting to know the whereabouts of diamonds worth Rs 2000 crore. After a few stylish drone shots and some not-so-stylish accents, we are given snippets of information about the present owners of the loot. Although these scenes can be filed under the “This could have been a Zoom call” category, it is refreshing to see director Vettriselvan do away with voiceovers, and actually shoot the prologue. In fact, throughout the film, which is contrived and too convenient at times, it is this earnestness that shines through.
Cast: Jai, Athulya Ravi, Sunil, Vamsi Krishna
The diamonds are in the possession of corrupt minister Needhi Manikkam (a hilarious Sunil), and that group of international criminals employs local heist experts Madhan (a competent Vamsi Krishna) and Co to retrieve them. There is a planned jewellery shop heist where Murphy’s Law is in play, and not only are people shot at, the diamonds go missing from their possession too. One of the victims of this shooting is Narmada (Athulya Ravi), and it is here that Kathir (an effective Jai) joins this melee. While this soon becomes a revenge story, Kathir poses an all-important question — How is a human life not given the same respect that gold and diamonds get? Who decides someone can be collateral damage?
Although Vettriselvan takes his own time getting there, Yenni Thuniga becomes a fast-paced entertainer when all the primary parties — Kathir, Needhi Manikkam, and Madhan — are in search of something or someone. However, by the time we reach this part, exhaustion sets in due to the commercial contrivances existing in the name of romance. While the songs by Sam CS are good to listen to, they don’t just act as speed breakers but brick walls that the narrative has to motor through. There is a semblance of novelty in the usual boy-meets-girl love story, but it isn’t fleshed out enough for it to be more than just a superficial attempt at trying something new. The same holds good for the marriage proposal scene where themes like caste, and feminism are discussed, but the proceedings are alarmingly pedestrian that we don’t really want to throw our weight behind it. Kathir has a policeman friend Saravanan (Kuraishi), who inexplicably doesn’t behave like a cop despite being useful for certain plot points. It is almost like the typical wastrel friend template received a khaki upgrade.
Take away the romantic scenes, and certain other ‘check-box’ sequences, Yenni Thuniga is a largely engaging thriller that is bolstered by a group of antagonists who have more flavour than the unfortunately one-note protagonist. Sunil is a hoot as the corrupt minister, and his poker-faced one-liners are some of the best portions of the film. In fact, some of the conversations between the antagonists are hilarious. Take, for instance, Madhan’s response to the age-old punch dialogue “Oru appanukku porandhirundha, thuppaaki-a pottu kai-la sanda poda vaada” is downright wacky. Similarly, Vidya Pradeep, who plays an interesting character named Teja, gets a dark comedy scene with the corrupt minister that, once again, hits us out of nowhere. These nifty touches are peppered throughout the final act giving us a sense of redemption for sitting through the initial portions.
Yenni Thuniga knows its strengths, and its limitations, and could have been a much better film if some rough edges were trimmed, but it is no pushover film either. You see, big-ticket visual spectacles dictating the numbers at the box office are not a new trend. We have seen it happen a lot over the years. However, what kept the cash registers running between these releases were the second-tier or third-tier films and actors who ensured people coming to the theatres had a decent outing. Earlier, we had multiple answers to the question — If everyone becomes a Superstar, who will make the films that don’t need a Superstar? Now, we just have a handful of names doing the rounds, and if Jai’s recent filmography is anything to go by, then he seems to have become calculative and has bravely taken to this course.