Thandavam – And Then They Laughed

Thandavam BO – Vikram gets Middle Finger

Thandavam (September 27, 2012)
Director: A.L.Vijay
Cast: Vikram Kennedy, Anushka Shetty, Amy Jackson, Jagapati Babu, Santhanam, Nasser, Lakshmi Rai
Story & Screenplay: A.L.Vijay

A contemptuous, disdainful, sneering laugh broke out last night at the end of the premiere show of Vikram’s new film Thandavam at a theatre on the U.S. East Coast.

It was a rare, welcome instance of a traditionally forbearing Tamil audience openly displaying their revulsion over an incredibly bad film.

The mocking laughter echoed loud enough for us to hear it at the back of the hall.

If you want to know, the laughter from a section of the audience came in the final moments of the film as watched over by his besotted lover Sarah Vinayagam (Amy Jackson) Vikram’s character Siva Kumar/Kenny Thomas/Arjun Rathore lays a wreath in the London park where his wife Meenakshi (Anushka Shetty) lost her life earlier in a fiery bomb blast.

Not Daredevil, but Bare Junk

There’s been speculation among some netizens that Vikram’s Thandavam is inspired by the 2003 HollywoodΒ  film Daredevil (Ben Affleck, Jennifer Garner, Collin Farrell).

Tis’ true that the two films share a similar silly focus on a blind action hero using his ears/sound (echolocation) as his eyes to vanquish the bad guys.

Silly as Daredevil was, one could at least take solace in the solid performances of Ben Affleck as the masked blind super hero Matt Murdock and Colin Farrell as the maniacal villain Bullseye and the slick action scenes.

But don’t go looking for redeeming features in Thandavam because there are none.

Vikram plays an Indian Police Service intelligence officer Siva Kumar on the trail of a stolen ‘flow chart’ that is the key to a weapon of mass destruction developed by the Indian scientific community.

When he’s in London to recover the ‘flow chart’ he loses his eyesight in bomb blasts that also claims the life of his wife and several others.

The rest of Thandavam is so bizarrely, incredibly stupid that I was left aghast at the new lows that Tamil cinema was plumbing.

To chronicle all of the nonsense that makes up Thandavam would be akin to Hercules’ labor of cleaning the Augean stables.

So much time is squandered on the romances, the church scenes, the wedding in the village, the married life, songs, the humor track etc that the focus onΒ  action/terrorism often recedes into the background and turns the film into a tedious, directionless bore.

There’s so little color on the bad guys (except for Jagapati Babu’s character) and their motivations that it beggars belief.

Only in a Tamil film does the highly educated doctor wife not know that her husband is a senior IPS officer with RAW and believes her husband is a corrupt Sub-Inspector with the Delhi police (kinda like Shahrukh Khan’s Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi where the wife can’t recognize the husband without a mustache).

Ultimately, it’s director A.L.Vijay’s garish hodgepodge of a script that pulls down the film into the swamps of mediocrity.

Santhanam does his best to enliven the proceedings as the taxi driver invariably found at the scene of the crimes. We must confess to finding Santhanam’s dialogs and antics amusing and irritating at the same time.

A lot of scenes like the marriage moments, the London police’s investigation into the murders, the church scenes or Sarah singing there seemed so affected and utterly unconvincing.

What About Vikram?

Vikram has betrayed his loyal fan base yet again for a few silver coins.

Time and again, Vikram has selected scripts that are outright stolen or utterly incoherent and leave him no scope to showcase his talents, such as they are.

For much of Thandavam, Vikram wears a grim, monotone expression.

We were sorely disappointed by the ho-hum action scenes, none of which rose above what we’ve seen in a gazillion below par Tamil or Hindi films.

The final fight scene between Vikram’s character and the villain Sharath was, to be charitable, cringeworthy.

Unconvincing Villain

Telugu film star Jagapati Babu is poorly cast as Siva Kumar’s intelligence officer buddy Sharath who is ultimately found to be the villain/traitor betraying the national secrets for high money.

A strong action film must have a powerful villain at its core (like for instance the Joker in the Batman films or Bullseye in Daredevil).

Au contraire, the villain in Thandavam comes across as a buffoon at best and drab at worst.

Worse, Jagapati is not endowed with the acting chops required to carry off the villain’s role with any semblance of verisimilitude.

Most of the time, he comes across as amateurish, more so in the final confrontation with Siva Kumar in London as he mouths off his love for big money and exhorts his erstwhile buddy to join him.

Poor Chemistry

There is little chemistry between the two romantic pairs – Vikram and Amy Jackson or Vikram and Anushka.

Both Anushka and Amy Jackson have little to do, except look glamorous and lip-sync to songs.

Amy Jackson has a long way to go before she can spell a c t i n g.

Amy’s presence in the film may be attributed solely to the morbid fascination of the dark-skinned Tamils for fair-skinned babes.

Lakshmi Rai’s plight is worse, relegated as she is to just a few scenes.

Mediocre Music

Thandavam’s music did little to lift the proceedings above the banal.

Picturization of every song was unimaginatively, depressingly dull.

The booby prizes for the worst picturization goes to the opening number Yaaradi Yaaradi Mogini Pola picturized on Amy Jackson and the final song Uyirin Uyirae Unathu Vizhiyil featuring Vikram and Anushka.

Among the various numbers, we found Oru Paadhi Kadhavu Neeyadi to be the least aggravating.

It’s unlikely any of the Thandavam songs will be remembered a few weeks from now.

Audience Disinterest

There was considerable chitchat and restlessness among the audience suggesting a lack of interest in the proceedings on the screen.

Who can blame the audience given the puerile junk inflicted on them.

Thandavam is so hopelessly bad that one sees just no light at the end of the Kollywood tunnel.

Related Stories:
Thandavam BO – Vikram gets Middle Finger
Poor Response to Thandavam
Daredevil Review – Is Vikram Stealing this Junk?

24 Responses to "Thandavam – And Then They Laughed"

  1. avynne   September 28, 2012 at 1:53 pm

    A L Vijay is a mediocre director.

    Madrasapattinam is not worth the hype it was bestowed.

    And Deivathirumagal was a pathetic rip-off from ‘I am Sam’. Responds:

    1. You write: A L Vijay is a mediocre director.

    Then he most certainly has a bright future in Tamil films. πŸ˜‰

    2. I agree, Deiva Thirumagal is an outrageous copy of I am Sam.

    3. But the problem lies with Vikram Kennedy. Desperation and a string of flops is luring him to sleep with thieves and rank amateurs.

  2. gandhiji   September 29, 2012 at 9:31 am

    Looper would have been time and money better spent..

    At least that’s what metacritic and RT say. Responds:


    I’m beginning to like Joseph Gordon-Levitt (The Dark Knight Rises, 50/50, Premium Rush etc).

    But I like Flop King a.k.a Vikram Kennedy better! πŸ˜‰

    • gandhiji   September 29, 2012 at 10:57 am

      At one point, it seemed like Vikram had a Sallubhai touch.

      Now he is in Abhishek mode. Responds:

      Abhishek has papa Bachchan and wife Aishwarya to save his ass and rescue him.

      Vikram has nothing, nothing going for him.

      The thief (remember Deiva Thirumagal/I Am Sam) deserves his failures. πŸ™‚

      • Aswin_Kini   October 1, 2012 at 9:25 am

        @Gandhiji: Vikram had a great career till 2005, till Anniyan, but after Majaa, a flop, he took a huge break from the industry for reasons best known to him.

        He was destined to be the next superstar after Anniyan and could have gone on greater heights if he had not taken that unwarranted break and choose to do crappy films like Majaa, Bheema, and Kandhasamy……. I guess that he either never listened to good advice or never got it. In Tamil Cinema, absence does not make people fonder of actors, when Vikram’s Bheema came out, it got thrashed left and right and Vikram found himself in a rather unwanted situation, from being the TOP HERO in the industry right to being one of the wannabe stars……. It didn’t help that he choose pathetic scripts after that.

        Perhaps, his desperation to reach the top made him take several unwanted shortcuts. After all, who could believe that a person who did great films like Sethu, Kashi, and Pithamagan, would go on to make junk like Kandhasamy and Rajapattai……..

        If he does not mend his ways, he will join the list of actors, who faded into obscurity after having promising starts.

        A pity considering his talent and charisma…… SI will never agree with my opinion. But his work in Sethu was one of the best……no matter what film critics and present-day experts say.

        I still consider Vikram a far better actor than Vijay, Surya, Simbhu, Ajith, Dhanush or name any random hero, who is popular today. Responds:

        Ha, ha, ha, now, they’ve cut the playing time of Thandavam by some 9-minutes. But it’s probably too late to salvage that garbage.

        Vikram’s self-inflicted trauma is triggered by his desperate greed.

        Pana-Pisachi (ogress of money) has taken hold of him and he turned Judas. Betraying fans like you by embracing shoddy scripts and thieving directors like A.L.Vijay for the sake of a few silver coins.

        Vikram richly deserves his failures.

  3. Naveen   September 29, 2012 at 11:47 am

    Ha Ha Ha Shhhhh… don’t talk bad about Siva Perumal’s dance technique πŸ˜€ Responds:

    100 days, for sure!

    I mean all locations put together. πŸ˜‰

    • Naveen   September 30, 2012 at 2:32 am

      Looks like Vikram has no fans left. Not even Khaitan!

      The moment Ajith or Vijay’s movie is review in SI, their mongrels fans start spouting venom but looks like the 1-2 remaining fans have responded to Thandavam with their own Saavu koothu! Responds:

      Vikram has been ‘dead’ a long time.

  4. Naveen   September 29, 2012 at 11:59 am

    I saw Act of Valor and Cabin in the Woods yesterday night.

    Act of Valor was good. The entire star cast is from the US Military and boy! they were so much better than Junior Bachchan, Ajith Kumar and many other bollywood kollywood clowns.

    Cabin in the woods was junk. I am not sure why it has 91% in RT.

  5. iamthechampion007   September 29, 2012 at 4:58 pm

    Have u ever watched a Malayalam movie????

    if not, i hav a recommendation….Nadodikkattu (1987)…its considered a cult movie.

    It stars Mohanlal & Sreenivasan(who has written the script too).
    Refer this link pls…

    In case u have a problem with the language, its dvd comes with English subtitles. It’s a satire, so i’m not sure if subtitles could convey the exact and complete meaning of dialogues.

    The central subject is serious – two unemployed youngsters dreaming comfortable lives. But the dialogues are laced with humour and the performances are amazing…..Don’t think you’ll get bored just because its a 25 year old movie.

    Trust me you’re gonna love it, because its not just a movie, its a slice of life…I strongly recommend this one ‘coz its my most favourite Malayalam movie…have watched it more no of times than any other movie..Make sure u don’t miss it… Responds:

    You write: Have u ever watched a Malayalam movie????

    Does porn count? πŸ˜‰

    Just kidding.

    I doubt I’ve seen a Malayalam movie.

    Unfortunately, Netflix does not have Nadodikkattu.

    The only Mohanlal films they carry are Innathe Chinthavishayam, Vanaprastham and Ram Gopal Varma Ki Aag. πŸ™

    • Mnx542   October 10, 2012 at 7:28 am

      Mohana lal’s best movie, in my opinion, is Manichitrathazhu. Absolutely no commercial elements in it. It has solid acting, good music and nice comedy(that which can happen in real life). Chandramukhi is nothing compared to it.

      I haven’t seen Vanaprastham but I’ve seen Innathe Chinthavishayam. Average movie. There are many movies starring Mohan Lal and Meera Jasmine that I get confused as to what is what.

      Few months back I watched Rasathanthiram, another movie starring Mohan Lal and Meera Jasmine. I don’t remember much about the story but I loved the acting, especially Lal’s.

  6. iamthechampion007   September 29, 2012 at 11:30 pm

    Vanaprastham is the movie for which he got his 2nd National Award.

    Though some rave about his performance in that movie, I haven’t seen it yet…Innathe Chinthavishayam is not worth watching and the name itself warns you about the other movie (RGV Ki Aag) in your list.

    Stay away from it.

    It’s sad that Netflix doesn’t have any of the best movies in Malayalam (a no of them having Mohanlal himself in it)…An important thing about Nadodikkattu is that you can’t call it a Mohanlal movie…Although he’s simply superb in it, its beyond Mohanlal or for that matter, any actor in it.

    Maybe u should call it a Sathyan Anthikkad- Sreenivasan- Mohanlal movie (the former is the director and Sreenivasan has written the script)..In case u come across its dvd, dont think twice…. Juz watch it…. Responds:

    1. Sweetie, it’s unlikely that I will stumble upon Nadodikkattu here.

    Even the pirate DVD stores in New Jersey sell only Hindi-Telugu-Tamil DVDs.

    The Gujju ladies from Mehsana district selling the pirated DVDs haven’t heard of Malayalam. πŸ˜‰

    The average North Indian in America is clueless about South India except for Dosa and Uttapam. No kidding!

    2. I agree with your logic…..some successful movies are successful not because of the star but because the story, screenplay, co-stars, direction and the star all “come together” in a rare fine amalgam. I’ve seen several foreign (non-Hollywood) and a few Hollywood films like that. The Man from Earth is one such example. You’ll agree that 99% of the people who viewed that movie won’t be able to remember the name of the ‘main guy’ (David Lee Smith) but they’ll tell you it was a darn good film.

    • VivekVenkatSubramaniam   October 1, 2012 at 9:57 am

      Hey, SI.
      Your guidance has paved the path for a great epiphany to dawn on my wee little grey cells.

      I no longer watch downloaded movies.

      Instead, I watch my movies on cable Television, a pathetic plight I have been relegated to, claim my friends.

      Apropos the comment on you having watched Malayalam movies, I seriously believe that you should start watching them…not that you should take my opinion seriously.

      I find that the only industry in India on which I can rely to find some intelligent cinema is the Malayalam Movie Industry. Movies like the Indian Rupee, Traffic, Sethuram Iyer CBI series, Grandmaster, Pranchiyettan and the Saint, Vanaprastham, Spirit, Cocktail, Loudspeaker, 22 Female Kottayam and Mathilukal are but recent additions to my ever-growing collection of Malayalam movies.

      Besides, the acting is not too garish, loud or over-the-top; it is subtle and quite excellent. I suppose you love Mammootty for that reason.

      My only grouse is that you had earlier dismissed Mohanlal as a “fat buffoon”(in your Tezz review, I think). I would like to reiterate that he is one of India’s finest actors, capable of pulling off any role, be it larger than life or as your everyday regular Joe, with, I emphasize again, subtlety.

      Why don’t you catch some of his recent movies like Grandmaster or Spirit, solely for his acting? I am sure you will begin to appreciate him even better.

      Also, try to catch Traffic on NetFlix, if possible. It is a brilliant movie,with an unorthodox, yet beautiful concept and it features some solid acting from Sreenivasan, a very underrated comedian and actor.

      Looking forward to some excellent Malayalam movie reviews from you.

      Sorry if I sound too demanding. I know you must be busy with some other movies, but if possible please try to make some allowance for these insignificant suggestions of mine. Responds:

      1. Sweetie, my comment on Mohanlal being a ‘Buffoon” was prompted by his dismal performance in Unnaipol Oruvan (remake of A Wednesday, featuring Naseeruddin Shah and Anupam Kher).

      I compared Mohanlal to the peerless Anupam Kher and found him coming up way short.

      2. Netflix has a ‘grand’ total of 15 Malayalam movies:

      * The Journey
      * Chemeen
      * Aadhaaram
      * Shadow Kill
      * Veruthe Oru Bharya
      * Sadharam
      * Bhavum
      * Mayajalam
      * Talappavu
      * Positive: Chemistry of Love
      * Magic Lamp
      * Beda Dosthe
      * Vanaprastham
      * Thavalam
      * Innathe Chinthavishayam

      Based on reader choices, I’d be happy to watch and review a couple of them.

      (There are a bunch of Indian DVD rental services in the U.S. but my previous experience with two Indian firms were not good. Netflix remains the gold standard for DVD rental in the U.S., for foreign (French, Italian, Spanish etc), Hollywood and Bollywood films.)

      3. Say what you will, the Malayalees have a certain class that’s sorely lacking in Tamils, Telugus, Kannadigas and among the Hindi crowd.

      Because at the end of the day, it’s the audience that dictates via their ticket purchases what kind of movies ought to be made.

      • VivekVenkatSubramaniam   October 1, 2012 at 11:50 am

        Pity about the choices you have.

        Of the 15, I would recommend Vanaprastham, a stunning study on human psychology and the intricacies of the famous dance art of of Kerala, Kathakali. Mohanlal won a National Award for his soulful performance in that film.

        The other one is Nizhalkuthu, a case study on the justification of capital punishment during Indian pre-Independence era, featuring the brilliant thespian, the late Oduvil Unnikrishnan, god bless his soul.

        That genius, Adoor Gopalakrishnan, the only man capable of making world-class Indian films along with Mani Ratnam and Satyajit Ray.

        And please, please, do somehow try to find a way to obtain Traffic. You will not regret seeing it, I assure you. Responds:

        We’ll try and see what we can get here.

        Vanaprastham. for sure.

      • Mnx542   October 10, 2012 at 10:46 am


        One of the movies you mentioned Cocktail is a rip off of Butterfly on the Wheel.

        I don’t know if it’s outright theft or an official remake though..!!!

  7. iamthechampion007   September 30, 2012 at 4:04 am

    Hey got its link…Its here…
    Seems like its an authorized one. But it doesn’t have subtitles unfortunately Responds:


  8. shadowfax_arbit   September 30, 2012 at 10:35 am


    Felt this girl is full of sex appeal. Responds:

    The girl in the above video is kinda ok with regard to sex appeal but the whole video/song is sub-par. Utterly graceless.

    For solid sex appeal and immense grace in a Tamil film, it’s hard to beat the tribal dance song Aasaya Kaathula Thoodi Vittu featuring Subhashini in Johnny.

    I’m coming to believe that with sex appeal, grace and class (I’m speaking only within the context of a movie), you’re either blessed with those qualities or you’re not. Hard to cultivate/develop them.

    Among the Southern heroines over the last three four decades, Nayantara has some sex appeal but no grace or class.

    Trisha has nothing.

    Priyamani has a bit of all three.

    Sameera Reddy has nothing.

    Bhavana has a bit of all three but, alas, no acting talent.

    Anushka Shetty has a decent bit of all three.

    ***** My favorite Shobana has tons of all three but, alas, age is fast creeping upon her.

    Amala Paul has a bit of all three.

    Lakshmi Rai has lots of sex appeal and some grace and class but, alas, is not blessed with good luck.

    Shruti Hassan has zero except for the good luck of being born to Kamal Hassan.

    Padmapriya has a bit of all three but too little luck.

    Vimala Raman has more than a bit of all three but age and luck thwart her.

    Khushboo had oodles of sex appeal but no grace or class.

    Ramya Krishnan had a bit of all three.

    Samantha has some grace, a tiny bit of class but too little sex appeal.

    Asin has a bit of class and grace but not enough sex appeal.

    Sridevi had a decent bit of sex appeal and some grace and class.

    Hema Malini had grace and class but too little sex appeal.

    Rekha had more than a bit of all three.

    Aishwarya Rai had class and grace but too little sex appeal.

    Shoba had class and grace but too little sex appeal.

    Fatafat Jayalakshmi had a bit of sex appeal but not enough grace or class.

    Vidya Balan has enough of all three.

    Deepika Padukone has a bit of all three.

    Bangalore girl Anushka Sharma has too little of all three.

    Jyothirmayi has good sex appeal and more than a bit of grace and class.

    Sneha too little sex appeal but some grace and class.

    The late Sujatha (Aval Oru Thodarkathai) had a good bit of grace and class but too little sex appeal.

    Jayapradha had enough of all three.

    Revathi has a fair bit of sex appeal, grace and class but the cruel hand of age has likely taken its toll.

    • Naveen   September 30, 2012 at 7:47 pm

      Tamannah? Kajal agrwal? Sukanya? Jyothika? Nagma? Revathy? Rekha of punnagai mannan fame? Simran? Devayani? Rambha? Soundarya? Meena? Gouthami? Seetha? Urvasi? Responds:

      Most of the gals in your list are either North Indians or nonentities.

      Except for Revathi. I’ve updated the list to include Revathi.

      In my lexicon, they should either be South Indians by birth (Vidya Balan, Aishwarya Rai, Lakshmi Rai, Sneha are southies by birth and are hence included although they live in Munmbai) or should have lived in South India for a long time (like the Bangalore girls Anushka Sharma and Deepika Padukone, for instance).

      I’ll shut this blog down rather than include Jyothika in the category of humans. πŸ™

      • avynne   September 30, 2012 at 10:40 pm

        “I’ll shut this blog down rather than include Jyothika in the category of humans. ”

        Ha ha !! love your passion!! Responds:

        We owe an everlasting debt of gratitude to Surya for getting it off the screens permanently.

    • shadowfax_arbit   October 1, 2012 at 2:23 pm

      Wow this response in itself deserves a blog post πŸ™‚

      What about Gouthami, Urvashi, Meera Jasmine, Shalini and Anjali?

      I found Gouthami extremely sexy in Devar Magan… Responds:

      Meera Jasmine has class, grace and is very ‘well e n d o w e d‘ with sex appeal. πŸ˜‰

      Unlike her ‘pati parameshwar,’ Shalini has a good bit of grace and class and a little bit of sex appeal.

      When I try to ‘figure’ out Gouthami, Urvashi and Anjali, my mind draws a blank.

  9. iamthechampion007   October 2, 2012 at 1:30 am

    I completely agree with Mr. Vivek Venkat, Mohanlal is one of India’s finest actors. There are a no: of movies which prove that.

    And one more thing, now that u got its link, are u planning to watch Nadodikkattu?? As I mentioned before, I strongly recommend it. Responds:

    Will watch in a week or so but can’t promise a review if there are no subtitles.

  10. iamthechampion007   October 2, 2012 at 10:33 am


  11. Scorelover   October 3, 2012 at 7:07 am

    Saw “Thandavam” – There was nothing new as the hype created through trailers.

    Thandavam has shoddy script and poor characters development.

    Amy Jackson and Santhanam were totally waste in this movie.

    Amy Jackson couldn’t act properly. Santhanam’s comedy was boring and outdated.

    It was so childish and annoying. Music by G.V was really awful. Overall, movie was so boring and i wasted 150 bucks on this garbage. Avoid this cockamamie nonsense.

    P.S There was a movie called “Iravu Suriyan” which was released in the year 1991. Actor Murali acted as a blind person and actress kushboo as his wife. The storyline of Iravu Suriyan is Murali’s Wife Kushboo was brutally gang raped and murdered and by accidentally, he became blind person. So, his mission to take revenge against those who murdered his wife. Somehow or other, the plot was almost same but here and there they changed it. Check that movie also. Responds:

    Hmmmm, interesting tidbit about Iravu Suriyan.

  12. iamthechampion007   October 9, 2012 at 7:30 am

    Nadodikkattu??? Responds:

    In good time, sweetie!

  13. SriramParthas   October 9, 2012 at 4:09 pm

    HI SI,

    Its been long time since I’m posting my thoughts in the comments section.

    yesterday i posted a comment here related to [Deleted] ….i don’t know why it was not published.

    Anyway I’m adding the same content again in this post. [Deleted] Responds:

    1. Sweetie, I read your comment yesterday.

    I also read the two articles published on the subject on the other web site (your link).

    In your comment on SI, you have used strong, harsh words about xxxx without any basis in facts.

    Worse, you used such injudicious language despite an acknowledgment on the other web site that the plaintiff is not on solid legal ground.

    I don’t know why your comment on SI is not in sync with what is written on the other web site.

    2. Further, when the court has already ruled initially against the plaintiff you have no legal basis to use the words that you did in the comment.

    These are the reasons I did not publish your comment yesterday and why I’ve removed your link today.

    If the plaintiff decides to go in for a full trial and wins the case then we can revisit the subject.

  14. kayjay   December 23, 2012 at 1:35 pm

    If only the utterly unnecessary romantic portions r removed,Thaandavam wud have been slicker & crisper.

    Hope future action-oriented Tamil movies will avoid such costly mistake. Responds:

    If only all the scenes after the title were removed, Thandavam would have definitely been slicker, crisper and endurable!

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