Theri is definitely a watchable commercial entertainer from Vijay and it has enough in store for women and family audiences, who form a lion’s share of his loyal and long-standing fan base.
Generic characters, predictable villains, age-old revenge factor and a likeable protagonist who is also THE messiah – that’s how one would quickly sum up Ilayathalapathy Vijay’s latest offering Theri. Despite all these shortcomings, there’s something in director Atlee’s fairly engaging presentation, which is loaded with burning social issues like ‘women safety’, ‘child begging’, ‘rape’ and incisive dialogues – mostly mouthed by Vijay – that tug at your heart strings.
Joseph Kuruvila (played by Vijay) is a bakery owner who leads a peaceful life in Kerala along with his doting and naughty daughter Nivedita (played superbly in a terrific debut performance by Baby Nainika, daughter of yesteryear heartthrob Meena). However, when Joseph gets entangled in a local tiff, he is forced to reveal his real identity – Vijay Kumar IPS – to Nivi’s school teacher, played by Amy Jackson – a complete miscast. The very setup of this flashback, the perfectly built-up fight sequence that leads to the flashback, and the way it is staged will certainly remind you of N number of Tamil films including the instantly reminding Rajinikanth classic Baasha.
The bonding between Nivi and Joseph is cutely enacted with Baby Nainika performing on par with a senior actor like Vijay. The scenes including the two are an absolute delight to watch. In fact, the first half has some nicely packed elements – riveting stunts, the flashback romance between Vijay and Samanta (who plays the role of a doctor) and mass whistle-worthy scenes. Radhika as Vijay’s mother delivers full justice to the role and she manages to leave an impact despite the short screen time.
Atlee has pulled off a casting coup by roping in Mahendran to play the baddie. His scorching screen presence and rhythmic dialogue delivery is something you should watch it to experience. However, he’s severely underused and that’s why the final outcome is not as fulfilling as the entertaining first half. The screenplay wanders in the second half with hilariously constructed ‘murders’ and makes it a little hard to sit through. Atlee pulls up his socks quickly though to deliver a smart and a slightly manipulative climax where Vijay puts up a good show with his lines.
Technically, the film is topnotch with George William’s vibrantly shot visuals and GV Prakash’s sterling background score. Overall, Theri is definitely a watchable commercial entertainer from Vijay and it has enough in store for women and family audiences, who form a lion’s share of his loyal and long-standing fan base.