Thodari is one of the most expected films of this year considering the fact that it's Dhanush's first film of 2016. With a stellar cast and talented crew list, the captain of the ship, Prabhu Solomon had a lot of expectations to match with this emotional thriller. Prabhu is known to bring out the natural best out of his artists and Dhanush is a director's actor. Thereby this collaboration makes this a film, worth waiting for in-spite of delays in its release.
The film's trailer somewhat gives away the crux of the film. A panicked gang of passengers, running havoc, trying to save themselves from a train that's running out of control was evident and the reason for it is the story of Thodari. Dhanush has taken the role of Poochiyappan, a meager pantry boy who's life revolves around trains and in quest of a partner who'd be family for him, something that he didn't have so long. On this journey towards Chennai in the bewitched DC Express, he stumbles upon Saroja (Keethy Suresh) who's a touch up girl of a famous actress.
As the romeo in him works overtime, Keerthy falls for Dhanush's antics and in due course, Dhanush rubs Harish Uthaman, minister Radha Ravi's security, on the wrong way leading to more friction then what the train's brakes should've had. When a series of unfortunate events lead to the train hurtling towards certain annihilation, it's all comes down to this pair who are the last resort to save the 700 odd lives in the train. What causes the insuppressible run of the train? Is it the work of a terrorist organization as portrayed by the media or is there something more to it? Thodari answers the question, in a rather lengthy fashion.
The director has engaged a plethora of talents to fill up the cast list. Dhanush excels in under playing and though his role doesn't give him much to showcase his acting prowess, he gives what's necessary. The surprise package in-store for the audience was Keerthy Suresh. Playing the role of an innocent young girl, she had to show a lot of emotions which she does convincingly without crossing the border into the over-acting area. In spite of being just 2 films old, Keerthy has proved that acting runs in her blood and she's a talent to reckon.
Prabhu's films are known for their huge chunk of humor portions and he once again joins hands with his tried and tested comedian, Thambi Ramiah. But what we have in-store is predominantly a lackluster performance from the comical gang which also includes Karunakaran and Darbuka Siva. The one who does excite the audience with his sarcasm and sharp lines is veteran actor Radha Ravi. The role of an antagonist is to make viewers detest him and Harish Uthaman has done a great job in it. He's a power-packed performer to watch out for, even though the reason for his ruffle with Dhanush is flimsy. Not to mention the unwanted hatred dialogues thrown at people speaking different languages. Considering the current tension among states, they could've been removed at least post censors. Chinni Jayanth, A. Venkatesh, Ganesh Venkatraman and many more talented artists are on board and even though their roles are insignificant, they've delivered well.
As the film's pivotal part begins just a while before intermission, the first half is filled with songs and comedy sequences which ends up making the audience wait more for the intermission than the climax. But the story picks pace, just like the train in it, right from the start of the second half and the flick gives its fair share of thrilling moments in the second half. The love track, just like in all Prabhu Solomon films, is a treat to watch and the pair look great together. What's hard to digest are a few loopholes and a song sequence to which the hero shakes a leg happily even though it's probably the most crucial moment of the film. Scenes showing the state of our politicians and the extent to which media channels go in the name of TRP ratings are entertaining.
In the technical side, the camera works need special mention. Scenic locations are a must in Prabhu's films and they've been captured by Vetrivel Mahendran's lens gracefully. D. Imman's music doesn't help the film much and the untimely placement of the 'Pona Usuru' track, which is the best in the album, makes it dreary but he certainly makes up to it with the background score. LVK Doss's editing could've been better and the film's lengthy run-time definitely warrants a trim. The biggest let down for Thodari is its VFX works. The graphics work look hurried and considering how important they are, more prominence could've been given to it.
While the story-line is interesting, the execution could've been better. What should've been an edge-of-the-seat thriller ends up as barely watchable flick and that's thankfully for the performance of the lead stars.
Overall, Thodari will land drop you at the destination if you're ready to put up with a rugged journey.