Monday, July 15, 2024

Thegimpu: A good idea ransacked by mediocre screenplay

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Amartya Smaran

Thegimpu, the dubbed Telugu version of Ajith Kumar’s Thunivu hit the screens on Wednesday.. This film marks the third collaboration between writer-director H. Vinod and Ajith Kumar. Previously they worked together on the superhit film Nerkonda Paarvai and the average-grosser Valimai.

Thegimpu is an action-heist film narrated from the point of view of Darkdevil aka Michael (Ajit Kumar). The film begins with an elaborate sequence where the robbers scheme a plan to get their hands on ‘Your Bank’, located right in the middle of the city. In the process of looting the big bank, the robbers find another person eyeing the vault. However, his interference bogs them down and they do everything they can to stop him from getting in their way.

The director tactfully introduces all the main characters in the first 20 minutes. Ajay as the corrupt cop is just brilliant with his performance and so is Samuthirakani as the honest DGP. Ajith Kumar looks dapper and super comfortable in his new avatar and pulls off the role with extraordinary ease. Be the fight sequences or the way he interacts with the cops to confuse them during the heist, the man is just amazing. Manju Warrier, who plays Ajit’s most trusted confidant in the film does what is needed. Now that the film follows the point of view narrative, it is not correct to expect the director to give equal importance to all the characters.

Music Director Ghibran maintains the high-pitched upbeat score throughout the film, and makes no qualms about being too pompous with respect to his choices. The kind of music he scored might not be everybody’s cup of tea, but it sure makes you get up from the seats whenever a dull slow paced scene plays out. Coming to the cinematography, Nirav Shah could have done a lot more with the tone and color of the film. The film looks too bright and colorful for a heist flick. It just doesn’t look aesthetically pleasing.

However, the creative choice to use the camera swirl technique during crucial moments such as the face-off scenes between Ajith and your bank’s forerunner John Kokken is praiseworthy. Producer Boney Kapoor’s backing is not visible on the screen for the viewers to surely think, “Hey! What happened to all that money?”

The film has a good idea. It takes the route of a traditional Robin Hood- esque concept, which for the most part gets lost in translation due to the jarring screenplay. The director tries to explain the backstory of the characters on more than three occasions. This choice of the filmmaker is frustrating, to say the least. Firstly, there’s so much happening on the screen at the bank, and shifting the story to the flashback doesn’t add much excitement.

To cite an example, many moviegoers never liked the flashback sequence featuring Ajay Devgn in RRR because it cut down on the pacing of the film. Unless there’s something so significant that would act as a catalyst for the film, makers shouldn’t pay much attention to the flashback. Visually showing, not descriptively telling, is the point of films. Here, it often looks like the filmmaker is trying to spoonfeed the audience with some of those flashback episodes.

During the process of tracking down the robbers, the film does a good job of touching on important temporal topics. For example, the quirky nature of journalists on a crime scene or the appetite few cops and politicians have for corruption, or the obsession that people have with social media no matter what happens. All of it sits well with the cause-and-effect logic of the film. The actor who played the role of a senior journalist does an outstanding job with his witty lines. His role is that of a professional who’s sick and tired of his job.

The most disappointing aspect of Thegimpu is how it doesn’t take off from the runway. It just lingers around the same idea and the nature of the script is such that it can’t go any other place than the bank located in the city’s center; giving little to no room for the makers to explore different locations. Of course, they try with the songs and a few flashback scenes, but that doesn’t take off either. The climax does offer a few laughs when Darkdevil unveils himself to the world and takes up the role of an uncapped journalist interrogating the wrong doings of the bank management.

Thegimpu tries hard to showcase itself as a heist film, but it is nothing more than an old Robin Hood- esque flick. There’s so much that the makers could have done in terms of working on the layers hidden beneath the pages of the script but they conveniently turn a blind eye to what the script has to offer.

One can only appreciate the efforts put in to churn out a mass heist film for Ajith fans but it simply goes for a toss as the story doesn’t have enough meat to offer. If you love Ajith, go might as well go into the theatres to see him play the part but don’t be surprised if you walk out of the hall in an apparent state of disarray.

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