After the blockbuster success of the action thriller Kaithi, Karthi returns with director Jeethu Joseph’s drama thriller called Thampi, starring Jyothika, Nikhil Vimal, Sathyaraj, Zakkar Janaki in central roles, produced by Parallel Mind Productions with Viacom 18 Motion Pictures.
Thampi’s plot relates to the classic case of identity theft, and its parts may make you recall another movie (Martin Gwer’s return) as in, a person returns to his family years later, where the director thinks about the real identity of the person – is he a fraudster or a real person? But the way the film handled the deception was very serious. In Thampi, Jeetu Joseph tells every little detail within the first hour, whereby you have Saravanan, who abandoned his family when he was young. It has been 15 years since he left home. The question of whether he is dead or alive, is left to the audience to decide.
The blocks in Thampi is that as the story moves forward, multiple motives in the plot appear to throw red herrings to confuse the audience. The screenplay is a mess as the entire movie seems to have been made for a big twist in the climax. Karthi, fresh from Kaiti’s success, looks impressive with his excellent performance and great comedy timing. Satyaraj as expected gave the astral mature performance. Jyothika was indeed too good. Nikhila Vimal has a walk-in role as Karti’s romantic interest. RD Rajasekhar’s lens work, especially his aerial shots, brings out the beauty of evergreen Ootty in in this film.
Thampi is a great example of how actors can effectively elevate a script that otherwise does not go beyond the surface. The film uses a lot of familiar faces that give it an authentic feel to the roles they play. When these characters go back and forth in grayscale, we’re also going with the flow. The same applies to actors including Bala, Harish Peradi, Nikhila Vimal, Anson Paul, Ilavarasu, Aswant, Ammu Abhirami and Sowcar Janaki. It doesn’t matter that this is just a scene, they run cliches throughout the film.
We get lifeless songs and elaborate combat sequences that distract us from the pace and mood of the film. But beyond all this, Thampi is a film that gives a lot of weightage to the final twist. It’s not just that you see this coming, but rather it’s about how hard the film is trying to get us to keep investing until we get to that point. Even when we get to the big reveal, there is so much explaining and talking about it, that it really looks like the writer is trying to solve all the plot-holes and doubts at once.
Like the ’80s malayalam murder mystery films, Thampi’s basic plotline could be developed into a fascinating film. But because it’s so unnecessarily complex, it’s hard to see it as a thriller. It’s not close to the “Drishyam “, but with the roll reversal of epic proportions, does the main idea work well as a companion piece? It certainly does.
Yes, this movie is a middling drama – it may be like how “Drishyam “ was plotted, but it doesn’t get there. In an era when most celebrities want to draw attention to themselves, films like Thampi are a reminder of the need for a strong actor. This is a reminder that I love to take back home
Overall: Decent drama with good performance held together.