A Film Without A Cause
Madurai needs a facelift for being portrayed the same way in every gangster film. At one point, we start to think that any other Indian city is safer than Madurai. Thoonga Nagaram takes up the same line and brings friendship as a genre in what could otherwise be called a stupid, stupid plot. Writer-director Gaurav takes together today’s social evils, knits it unstably and weaves romance and betrayal in impeachable levels. First, there’s that lurid flashback depicting neighbourhood woes. Second, there’s a revival when the old neighbours meet again.
Not a single frame in Thoonga Nagaram can be called artistic. Every scene is insipidly shot. With today’s “thinking directors” trying to work out ways on showing realism, they forget that no one mounts a camera over a corpse. And, much like Venkat Prabhu’s Saroja, the characters in Thoonga Nagaram murder without a hint of fear. But, Saroja is miles away from Thoonga Nagaram. That was an entertaining film unless you’ve seen Judgement Nights.
One thing still irks me. How did Vimal run from his village to the don’s house, miles away in a matter of hours? I guess cinema verité has its own price. Anjali and Vimal are typecast as village actors for their looks and naivety. They should probably take a break and act in an urban film.
Thoonga Nagaram has its own flaws and Gaurav knew it when he made the film. But, the general rule – that the audience will agree to anything as long as there’s a ‘lived happily ever after’ – allows Gaurav and every other filmmaker to make a livelihood out of an 150-minute misery.
It’s a pity that gangster films are taming themselves for the sake of family audiences. Remember: without the blood, gore and profanity, there’s no gangster film.