Thunivu: Ajith Needs To Retire
Thunivu, Ajith Kumar's latest action film, starts off decent but ends in disappointment.
Pongal, an internationally celebrated Indian holiday, has been taken over by the Thala-Thalapathy rivalry for many years, and 2023 was no different. As usual, the two Kollywood stars have movies releasing for this Hindu festival, causing fans to erupt in India and internationally. Thunivu and Varisu, the two films in question, have been under heavy speculation since their announcements back in the summer of 2022.
Too Much Guts, No Glory
The word “thunivu” translates to something along the lines of courage and bravery. Ajith is not new to naming films in such manners, “Valimai” (strength) and “Veeram” (heroism) being a few examples. Often, when his movies are named this way, we can expect the film to force the message of being a hero or how to be courageous, etc. Like many of his recent films, this was a fully action-packed film, with all too common rifles, machine guns, blood, murder, explosions, and so on. It seems that the director of “Thunivu,” H. Vinoth took his slogan for this film to heart too much and decided that giving the audience two and a half hours of straight violence would be a fantastic idea. With a lackluster storyline, there isn’t much to comment about. To give more context without revealing too much of the plot, Ajith Kumar, is meant to be portrayed as a bad guy to confuse the audience into wondering why he isn’t playing the role of the “hero” he always is. There was a reason in his past that constituted his present actions choosing the path of violence and “guts.”
Let’s look at the movie in two parts, pre-intermission and post-intermission. It is a habit in Indian cinema to leave a break in the middle of films right as a big plot twist or something significant happens, during which the audience will go off to get snacks and return excitedly to see how it all plays out. Boy, would they have been heartbroken expecting the film to continue how it started. Pre-intermission was decent. Even with the obvious plot, the audience was left wondering what could be the motive behind this violent individual (Ajith) who was handling the entirety of his role in a very “chill” manner. As we are about to find out his motives and backstory, we are hit with the intermission leaving us in suspense. The latter half definitely surprises audiences. Surprises at how pathetically H. Vinoth gave us the backstory to this magnificently hyped-up first half of the film. It was like building up a sand castle carefully, only to make sure it was built right where the water would come and tear it down completely, ruining all the efforts, to begin with. If the point wasn’t made, there is just too much action and insufficient reasoning to justify that need.
Many individuals may know of the song from this film, “Chilla Chilla,” promoting that taking everything in a chill manner and being calm at all times is the way of life. To get this message across, the entire film tried to force an undertone of this action film being executed with that same chill vibes. Whether they succeeded or not, at least this ended up bringing some level of humor at times to the film. This humor was dropped here and there, which was one of the main reasons this film was slightly enjoyable until about the two-hour mark. However, around this point is where it all went downhill. For a film in 2023, the last thirty minutes of this film were absolute trash. No other way to put this. They built some low level of hype around Ajith’s character until the end and then took the millions of bullets shot during the first two hours of the movie and turned it back at Ajith to demolish the trim level of hype he had.
Just because you are given two options doesn't mean one has to be picked. Due to the excessive hype around the Varisu and Thunivu, along with decades of Thala-Thalapathy rivalry, the actual quality of a film is starting to be looked past when it comes to these two. For it to be a healthy competition, there should be well-made movies that leave the audience in a predicament on which is better, not left choosing which one is worse. The film's first hour was relatively entertaining, and the next hour will get by, but the last thirty minutes were tough to sit through. All in all, it’s time for Ajith to retire and save his legacy while he can.
Raving Rating: 5.8