The howling whistles and high-pitched screams of the crowd clearly announce what, for fans of Ilayathalapathy Vijay, is clearly a very Theri new year. With the film surrounded by a raging frenzy even weeks before its release, some tickets were said to be sold for over 10 times its actual value. And for the fans, the film is almost a total paisa vasool, the usual masala fix.
In a small town called Thengana, amidst the lush greens of Kerala, lives the overtly submissive Joseph Kuruvilla (Vijay) with his young daughter Niveditha (Baby Nainika). Suspiciously forbearing, our hero doesn’t break into a fight even when a few thugs threaten his kid. "This may be different", you might hope. But the movie then goes down the same path as every other mass film, a conspicuous flashback.
A good hour into the film we get to know about Vijay Kumar (Vijay), a dynamic deputy commissioner who plays the people’s hero, saving the needy and punishing the evil while looking spiffy in his khakis. Between these two Vijays there are a few laughs here and there, courtesy of loyal constable Rajendran (as himself) and commissioner of police, Prabhu.
These few laughs aside, the film has a massive amount of cheese and melodrama (preachy dialogues and vanilla characters galore). But if someone has salvaged this predictable plot into a stylish story of revenge, it is the lead actor himself. Glimpses of Ghilli emerge in the surprisingly few action sequences that dot the film, reminding us of the very same charm which established a turning point in the actor’s character.
Samantha and Amy Jackson too put up a convincing show of playing Mithra and Annie. Radhika who plays the single mother of the protagonist surprises us with her warm acting.
With the potential of a racy thriller behind its arms, Theri loses pace a few minutes into the interval. With a few fine performances and some new conceptions, Theri is definitely not a Puli, but it sadly isn’t a Thuppaki either.