An empty jewellery box
Thakka Thakka is a rather crafty film. It’s the equivalent of an empty but exquisitely carved jewellery box. It’s beautiful and promising from the outside. The scenes — especially the ones at night — are dramatically shot (by Sujith Sarang); the editing is crisp (by Sreejith Sarang) and doesn’t let even a single shot outstay its welcome. It even has a Bala-film-like beginning when a small girl is forced to become a sex worker and ends up giving birth to a stillborn child. The baby boy gets buried by the evil henchmen guarding the Mattancherry brothel, and the mother is distraught. She howls and runs towards the buried baby in slow-motion. She digs through mounds of mud and picks up the dead baby and cries a bit more (you see why I mentioned Bala). And then, the baby wails in response. The boy resurrected from death, who as you shortly realise in a quick transition, is Sathya (Vikranth), the hero — now, a fast food employee. It all happens very fast, and effectively.
And then, you open the jewellery box. Due to the rather promising beginning, I even forgave the film its mandatory opening song about the virtue of friendship and alcohol. But after such a dramatic introduction, Sathya almost ends up becoming a supporting character, as you’re introduced to his long-time friend (Aravinnd Singh) and his romance with the only daughter (Abhinaya) of an evil, single mother (Uma Padmanabhan). All this happens amid a councillor election that’s contested by a criminal/political aspirant, Parama (Rahul Venkat, carrying a single menacing expression throughout).
And then the film introduces its main conflict and exposes its true colours. The chief problem of the story is how a thug — the evil mom’s brother (in Tamil parlance, thaaimaaman ) — wants the same girl that Sathya’s friend is in love with.
For a film that touches on political aspiration and sexual slavery, this archaic idea is such a letdown. The bubble burst at this point. And then, there’s a small ‘twist’ at the end that doesn’t quite matter. There are a couple of songs somewhere in between. There’s even the sacrifice in a friendship that you don’t really care about on account of how little time is invested in establishing it. And there’s much, much fighting (to perhaps justify the title) when Sathya suddenly unleashes all his until-then-for-some-reason-hidden expertise in martial arts on a bunch of hapless thugs. All the fighting happens inside a warehouse set in Binny Mills, and when Sathya picks up different types of iron tools to reduce his enemies to a bloody heap, I was reminded of all those WWE matches when the wrestlers get under the stage and come out with innovative weapons in curious shapes. By this time, I was just going through the motions with mild interest; all that initial promise becoming a distant memory. Thakka Thakka ’s predictable, wafer-thin plot makes even WWE storylines seem like meritorious literary work in comparison.