Eerie opening scene – check; dark rainy night – check; mystery guy with a limp dressed in black with a helmet – check; background score to match – check; textbook opening scenes for a thriller, right down to the perfect murderer’s uniform. Watching the helmet clad mystery person’s limp, one couldn’t help being reminded of a certain antagonist from a pretty big OTT series.
Aishwarya Rajesh has done a creditable performance as Athira, a police official newly transferred to Chennai. One of the first cases she works on is that of her missing friend Deepa Surya and this leads to her exhaustive investigation. The course of her investigation uncovers several layers, eventually making it her own personal vendetta. Her every hunch deems correct, concluding every clue way too fast and then quickly jumping to the next revelation. Some of the scenes drag on while some go by in a fleeting instant.
With an ongoing murder/missing person investigation, that too of her dearest friend, she somehow finds time for romance in her life. It is also a bit implausible to consider that a police officer would fall for a stranger she just met – one whose name she doesn’t know.
There’s an unexplainable magnetic pull that Athira feels, one filled with a sense of comfort and familiarity that she harps on more than once during the film. Though the rest of the scene feels a bit forced, the scene where officer Athira, after having one too many, explains that she too would like to have someone to dance in the rain with, get surprises or snuggle under a blanket with stays with you, humanizing the police officer we see through the rest of the movie.
Although Aishwarya Rajesh has given a commendable performance throughout the movie, be it as the stern police officer or the shy woman who falls for a stranger, her potential as an actor has seriously been underutilized. Debutant Subash Selvam as Arjun, has some real moments during the first half of the film with his goofy smile as he salutes Athira or his genuine concern for her when he brings her food.
The investigation portion of the film aims to offer twists and turns that ended up being predictable and too quick. The screenplay does do a good job of keeping the audience guessing, as different characters from scorned lovers and rejected spouses make an appearance. Much like too much of a good thing is a bad thing, the excess of surprises with fake number plates, fake limps (for no reason), secret cellphones all muddle the storyline of this whodunit, leaving the audience with something of a hodgepodge.
The climax that follows is the heart of the film and makes an attempt to carry the storyline across the finish line. The climax is massive and something many of us don’t foresee. But does that justify the beginning three-fourths of the plot that the audience went through?
Even if we forgive the many loose ends in the film, where Vignesh Karthik completely missed the mark was the disconnect with the audience. Whether it was Athira’s romance or her friendship with Deepa Surya, the lack of an emotional connection was a shortcoming that rang through the entire movie. Even scenes where Surya saves Athira’s life landed up falling flat. Except for the last 25 minutes or so, as an audience we didn’t feel an urge to find the culprit or feel any emotion for Athira who obsesses about her missing friend.
The social message does get conveyed, though it seemed rushed and sloppy. With several perspectives, different angles of the social message all crammed into the last 25 minutes of the feature, you are suddenly left bombarded with a narration that lacked depth. Though the message hits home, maybe some subtle elements of bias or societal norms would’ve added some much needed emotional connect with the audience. Even the all-important message in the film, somehow comes across as preachy rather than tugging at your strings.
Predictable as it may be, Thittam Irandu starts off as a fast paced mystery thriller, but come the climax, the entire tone of the movie suddenly shifted, just as quickly as Athira’s chase sequence with the mystery man. From a textbook whodunit to a semi-sensitive take on a pertinent social issue, the director finally allows the audience to form an emotional connect with a character, only to have the closing credits follow.
Overall, it is a decent one-time-watch. An intriguing movie, that will get you as the audience to form multiple theories on what happened and keep you interested till the very end. Even though, Thittam Irandu may leave you pretty confused, hoping for a Thittam Moondru, the final message comes across loud and clear (as rushed as it may be).
Rating – 3/5