Thambi movie review: An impressive performance by Karthi powers Jeetu Joseph's engaging thriller

Sreedhar Pillai

Dec 20, 2019 18:08:01 IST


Noted Malayalam director Jeethu Joseph of Drishyam fame has perhaps the perfect template for family crime thrillers. His latest film, Thambi with Karthi in the lead, follows the same pattern and is fairly engaging with regular quota of family sentiments and suspense. The film is held together by a very impressive performance by Karthi, who towering presence can be felt throughout the film.

Thambi starts off in a sluggish manner. There are a bunch of filler scenes in the first half used to establish familial bond and emotions. Some humour and romance follows, before things take a serious turn. Gnanamoorthy (Sathyaraj) is a rich landlord and the local MLA of Gudalur near Otty. His son Saravanan had been missing for 15 years and the family is still searching for him. Gnanamoorthy’s eldest daughter Parvathy (Jyotika) and her mother (Seetha) are depressed and are still hoping that someday the young man will return.

 Thambi movie review: An impressive performance by Karthi powers Jeetu Josephs engaging thriller

The poster of Thambi.

A cop (Ilavarasan) in Goa helps Moorthy select con man and tourist guide Vicky (Karthi) to enact the role of Saravanan, to keep the MLA’s family happy. Soon Vicky becomes Saravanan and adapts himself well into the family, and has his elder sister and even his grandmother (Sowcar Janaki), eating out of his hand. His childhood lover Sanjana (Nikhila Vimal) takes a liking to him though her father (Harish Peradi) and a local cop (Anson Paul) are suspicious about his intentions. Meanwhile somebody wants Saravanan dead at all cost, as his ‘father’ is fighting a political battle with his rivals. What happens next forms the crux of the suspense thriller.

The trouble with Thambi is that the story travels all around, as multiple motives in the plot throw red herrings to confuse the audiences. The screenplay is a mess as it looks like the whole film has been made for the big twist in the climax. Karthi, who is fresh off the success of Kaithi, keeps us hooked with his terrific performance and perfect comedy timing. Sathyaraj does what is expected of him and Jyotika has given a mature performance. Nikhila Vimal has a walk-in role to be Karthi’s romantic interest. The lens work of RD Rajasekar, especially his aerial shots, brings out the beauty of evergreen Otty locales.

But here's a million dollar question: Why did Jeethu Joseph have to fit songs, including an introduction song for Karthi on the beaches of Goa, into the narrative?

Nonetheless, the major highlight of Thambi is the combination of its lead actors Karthi, Sathyaraj and Jyotika, who are acting together for the first time in a thriller. However Jeethu Joseph should bring some freshness in his screenplay which now follows a set pattern, film after film, of how a family reacts to a complicated situation arising out of an accidental murder. Thambi definitely has a Drishyam hangover but as Joseph has said in many interviews: he loves making such thrillers set against a family background and will continue to make them.

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Updated Date: Dec 20, 2019 18:08:01 IST