Time for an admission. I haven’t watched Special 26. But I don’t think Thaanaa Serndha Koottam and Special 26 are the same kind of films despite sharing the plot. So a fair warning as well — don’t walk in expecting a Special 26. With these disclaimers, I can say that Thaanaa Serndha Koottam does have it’s enjoyable moments but with a misplaced sense of righteousness that prevent it from the being the caper it could have been.
In several interviews, Suriya has mentioned that Thaanaa Serndha Koottam is the most ‘fun’ film he has done in a while. There is an acquired terseness to the actor’s gait and demeanour, thanks to his Singam kind-of serious roles. Thaanaa Serndha Koottam sees Suriya loosen up but with conditions that stardom has placed on him. He takes jokes at his own height and even his characters. I couldn’t stop smiling when he asks “Naa ketta vartha pesamaten nu evan sonathu (Who says I can’t cuss),” with a cheeky smile. After all a line from Suriya’s 2002 film Mounam Pesiyathe (‘Neengalam love panni, Kalyanam panni m**ra va pudunga poringa?’) is the punchline of numerous memes even today. However, he can’t just be a con-man like he was in Pithamagan or in Ayan. He has to become the area’s Robin Hood.
The film mirrors this battle as well. Vignesh Shivn constantly tries to be ‘fun’ and ‘serious’ and ends up not achieving both. There are places where Thaanaa Serndha Koottam catches us off-guard. A CBI interviewee who wants to fight corruption named Sasikala; references to Ramya Krishnan’s Telugu connections, a corrupt cop named Uthaman — the irony elicits smiles. So does Vignesh Shivn’s brand of justice. Uthaman loses his middle finger (take that corruption) Thaanaa Serndha Koottam would have been definitely more enjoyable had it not channeled its inner ‘Ramana’ while Suriya was channeling his inner ‘Durai Singam’.
Thaanaa Serndha Koottam has several memorable faces and voices. Ramya Krishnan, Senthil, Karthik, Suresh Menon (Gautham Menon’s voice in particular) — they sure have their moments. In line with Tamil commercial cinema tradition, Keerthy Suresh doesn’t have much to do. However, how she meets Suriya is genuinely cute. Her character and the track showed mild promise which only fades into expected disappointment. Anirudh’s songs brings a wave of nostalgia from the 1980s and the choreography does justice to the retro feel.
Walk in without expectation and let Thaanaa Serndha Koottam’s humour entertain you. As hard as the film tries to be serious, it is tough to take it so.