Deiva Thirumagal has the odious perversion of not merely being stolen (from the 2001 Hollywood film I Am Sam) but also the dubious distinction of being a downright trashy movie.
Too Hard for Vikram
Folks, one of the biggest disappointments of Deiva Thirumagal is Vikram’s mediocre acting.
Truth be said, Vikram is not even a millionth as effective as Sean Penn was in the Hollywood original.
For his jaw-dropping performance in I Am Sam, Sean Penn won an Oscar nomination. The man is a delight to watch for pulling off a remarkable performance in a difficult role, a feat that surely is still spoken of in hushed tones.
The best that can be said of Vikram’s performance in Deiva Thirumagal is that he pees all over himself.
Vikram just does not have the acting chops to pull off the role of a mentally handicapped father, one with the mental age of a six-year-old.
In scene after scene, Vikram’s mannerisms appear grossly affected and not one-bit convincing.
And that is a mighty shame!
* In both movies, the principal protagonist is a mentally handicapped man raising his normal young daughter alone, then having the daughter forcibly taken away from him and how his feisty lawyer helps to restore the girl to him through a tough court battle. In Deiva Thirumagal, the mentally handicapped person is Krishna (Vikram) and in the Hollywood original I Am Sam it’s Sam (Sean Penn).
Besides the above overarching common story-line, there are several other similarities for Deiva Thirumagan to be anything but a shamelessly stolen copy of I Am Sam.
* In both movies, the handicapped man works in the food business (coffee shop in I Am Sam and chocolate factory in Deiva Thirumagal).
* In both movies, the handicapped man is reminded to go to hospital to meet his wife who’s in labor.
* In both movies, the handicapped man’s wife disappears from the scene soon after the little girl is born.
* In both movies, the handicapped man plays bedtime games with his daughter.
* In both movies, the little girl asks simple questions for which the mentally handicapped father has no answers.
* In both movies, our handicapped hero has four mentally handicapped friends.
* In both movies, there’s a helpful neighbor woman who gives tips to the handicapped man in raising the kid.
* In both movies, the four handicapped friends pitch in money at the shoe store when the handicapped hero falls short of money to buy school shoes for his daughter.
* In both movies, the lawyer for the handicapped man is initially reluctant to take up the case but subsequently relents.
* In both movies, the four handicapped friends come to court to testify in the custody dispute.
* In both movies, the handicapped man is forced to take the stand in the court battle and gets badgered by the opposition attorney during cross examination.
* In both movies, the opposition attorney raises the question how an adult man with the mental age of six can take care of his five year old daughter and how he will supervise the growth of his kid daughter into an adult woman.
* In both movies, the handicapped man gives up the custody of the child in the interests of her need for a motherly figure and better education.
* In both movies, the handicapped man gives a list of daily schedule of his daughter to the foster mother – 7:00 a.m big glass of milk; 7:30 a.m – breakfast, 8:00 a.m. shower, 8:30 a.m. school….
* In both movies, the school kids make fun of the young girl’s father.
* In both movies, the handicapped hero falls off the steps with a small bag in his hand.
Deiva Thirumagan’s writer and director Vijay, one of the biggest thieves in Kollywood, has made some minor changes to the story-line in a desperate, futile effort to avoid charges of plagiarism.
But in making the changes, Vijay makes a complete ass of himself, particularly in the end where the opposition lawyer (played horribly by Nasser) essentially surrenders the case to the defense lawyer (Anushka).
The comedy track centering around Santhanam draws some laughs now and then but is a silly distraction from the central theme of the movie – that of a mentally handicapped man’s struggle to regain custody of his young daughter.
The clumsy grotesquerie that make up the court room scenes in Deiva Thirumagan is an embarrassment to Indian cinema. Surely, this must be the nadir of Nasser’s long career in South Indian films.
Anushka is Hopeless
Anushka Shetty plays the role that Michelle Pfeiffer essays in the Hollywood original.
Completely clueless, Anushka goes about wearing a frown and acting like a nitwit for most of the film. As if that’s a badge of honor indicating great acting prowess.
It’s really hard to find a parallel to such poor acting in recent Tamil movies.
Au contraire, in the Hollywood original Michelle Pfeiffer brings great verve and energy to her role of the caffeinated lawyer struggling to balance family, motherhood and her job.
That as inept an actress Anushka made it into this film is yet another indicator of the near-bankruptcy of talent plaguing Tamil cinema.
Sara – No Dakota Fanning
Sara, who plays the young tot Nila, is by no stretch of imagination anywhere near the talented Dakota Fanning.
But by Indian movie standards where child actors are plain unwatchable, Sara does an alright job.
Amala Paul – Decent
Amala Paul has too short a role in the film to make much of an impact but acquits herself in the limited screen-time allotted to her.
The Mynaa girl has some acting skills in her and could go places with a right script and by working with the right director.
But a few more films with jokers like this director Vijay and she can kiss her career goodbye.
Bottom Line – Garbage
There’re no redeeming elements in Deiva Thirumagal.
Zilch. Nada. Zip.
Not the central character’s acting, not the music and most certainly not the stolen+butchered story.
No, we do not buy the argument that Vikram was unaware that the story of Deiva Thirumagan was stolen from I Am Sam.
The greedy Judas just did not care because he thinks Tamil movie fans are ignoramuses who can easily be bamboozled and will lap up any nonsense dished out to them!
Tamil film fans who spend their hard earned money in hopes of an entertaining hour or two deserve better than this rubbish a.k.a. Deiva Thirumagal.
Folks, do not even consider seeing this rotten stolen trash a.k.a. Deiva Thirumagal. Life is too short to be wasted on such junk.