Kamal Haasan’s old faithfuls would not hesitate to give an arm and a leg to watch him do two things on the screen – fight and dance. He does plenty of punching, pushing and running around; none of which a 61 year old would even dream about. The dancing, we catch him doing a brief half-hearted swing on a crowded dance floor; even in that short flash an entire army of rocking young’uns is rendered inert in the coolness of a dancing demigod. Of course, there is an outtake song which features some choreographed moves from the entire cast.

The cast is something most directors get in a lifetime; organic performances and richness in acting follow. The working dialogues (Suka) and everyday characters (Kamal Haasan) keep the movie’s posh/urban setup from alienating the theme and us. The holy union of action choreography/cinematography/editing, which is either overdone, undercooked or played for safety in Tamil movie, gets whole kinetic makeover. At this point, Ghibran cannot seem to get anything wrong with his soundtracks. The sights and sounds that Thoongavanam lay on top of all this is nothing short of spectacular.

Somehow, the sum of all these virtues do not deliver a film that should have been a tight nailbiter. Thoongavanm may just fall short of greatness ’cause this is an unexplored genre in Tamil cinema or a two+ hour spent under a single roof is too claustrophobic (not in an effective way). There’s no doubtmistaking,  Thoongavanam is a great addition to Tamil action thrillers; indeed for Indian films.

Unless you are someone who has the reflex to catch a bullet between the rows of your teeth, you’ll miss the flashing title card that kicksoff the movie with, “Inspired by Nuit Blanche”. ‘Nuit Blanche’ (a.k.a Sleepless Night), the 2011 french sensation gets a (very) faithful remake with Thoongavanam. There are few and minor tinkers to the original. The bonding and the relationship Kamal has with his son has little quirks that spring out only to dads.

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