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Pathu Thala Review

The first half of the movie Pathu Thala is roughly one hour and ten minutes long, and Silambarasan makes his grand entry in the last five minutes of the first half. Even though it isn’t achieving anything unique or gripping, the first half at least felt like a standard gangster film setup. What derails Pathu Thala is the fully hero-oriented second half, where the hero-worshipping is ruining all the possible greys one thought would play out in a gangster film. With an exhausting second half drenched in predictabilities and cliches, Obeli N Krishna’s adaptation of the Kannada film Mufti is a subpar effort.

The film opens with the kidnap of the current Tamil Nadu CM. The police are absolutely clueless about what exactly happened to the CM. But they have a suspicion about a crime boss from Kanyakumari named AG Raavanan, aka AGR. What we see in Pathu Thala is the covert operation of an officer named Shaktivel to find out the truth behind AGR and whether he has any connections with the abduction of CM.

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As I said, you expect AGR’s character to be a bit grey with some profound wisdom for his method. But the writing of that character is absolutely flat. SPOILER ALERT! There is a sequence where they reveal that AGR has a global company that has an annual profit of Rs 300 Crores, and he distributes all that money for charity. To emphasize more on his empathy for fellow human beings, there is an entire song sequence where Silambarasan is walking with mine workers, taking selfies with workers, waving at AGR fans, and letting school kids use his convoy as their school bus got broke down, etc. That portion frankly dismantles the possibility of seeing something fresh. To make it worse, you have the hero justifying all his sinful deeds as an act of care in the flattest manner.

Krishna has some stylized ideas for presenting his gangster world. The color palette with shadowy visual composition looks impressive at certain points. But his writing lacks nuances, and the making can’t really mask that hollowness. The slow-motion montages of hero-worshipping felt very typical, and in fact, STR himself had sung the Thee Thalapathy song, which had the exact location and purpose. The editing chops too much, and I was hoping to see an uncut drone shot in that climax fight. The songs Pathu Thala and Namma Satham were impressive, and they kind of blended with the film.

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Silambarasan, in his bearded look with all-black costumes and a solid filmography to his credit, does look believable as this powerful guy who can dethrone or appoint CM of a state. In terms of scope for acting, I think it was Gautham Karthik who got the better role. As the main antagonist, Gautham Vasudev Menon gets to try different slang in a single movie for a change. Other than that, it was a character that failed to register. Priya Bhavani Shankar as Leela Thompson was pretty much inconsequential to the central plot. Teejay Arunasalam, as AGR’s henchman, got a good role that gets your attention even though it was of that hot-headed bad guy in a gang.

The success or the fine aging of any gangster drama directly depends on how it builds the world and adds depth to pivotal characters. After setting up a premise that looked okay, Pathu Thala slips into a peripheral exploration of its main character. With the used-out traits of heroics crowding the much anticipated second half, the Silambarasan starrer fails to provide the high one would expect.

Over All – Pathu Thala -A Subpar Gangster Drama With a Stretched-Out Screenplay

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