Debutant director Gaurav’s Thoonganagaram (City that never sleeps) keeps us glued to our seats with its twists and turns, leading to a stunning climax.The director has reworked the ‘Made in Madurai’ formula with its usual friendship theme in a different manner, packaged with entertainment ingredients.
What makes the film work is its cast of comparatively newcomers along with first timers, and the surprise twist in the climax. Cinematographer Vijay Ulaganath brooding stunningly shot exposition, mainly top angle shots makes the film a visual treat.
The title is apt, as the story is set in Madurai. Director Ameer a Madurai resident in his voice over introduces us to the city and the four central characters ‘ Kannan (Vimal) a videographer, Mariappan (Nishanth) a dumb guy who works as a store assistant, Ayyaoor (Bharani) an electrician, and Rajamanickam (Gaurav) working at the electric crematorium.
They come from different neighbouring small towns near Madurai and meet at the local TASMAC bar and then become friends. Radha (Anjali), a local cable television anchor is Kannan’s childhood sweetheart.
Madurai brings together the happy go-lucky young men together, and they bond well, leading life without a care in the world. Suddenly they are drawn into a situation where Kannan, due to circumstances is forced to brutally beat up the son of the local don Periya Thappa (VN Chidambaram), who runs the illegal sand mafia.
Our heroes are on the run and they go back to their respective towns. But the don’s men soon find that Kannan is the man they want as he is all set to marry Radha. How the four-member gang draws out a perfect plan forms the suspense element in the climax.
It is the twist and turns in the plot that makes the film racy. It is also packaged well with entertainment ingredients like Singam Puli’s comic antics in the bar and his way of getting a free drink. The competitive war between two old grandmothers is hilarious and brings the house down. The love banter between Vimal and Anjali is also fun.
On the downside, the basic storyline has been seen in earlier films in the same genre like Nadodigal and few others. The formula is the same but the presentation brings in freshness. All lead characters are perfect. Vimal continues with his Kalavani image of a good hearted ruffian, Bharani, Gaurav (the director) and Nishant are in top form while Anjali as the bubbly, feisty Radha gives a spirited performance.
The two women who play the old grandma’s are fantastic and VN Chidambaram is menacing. Sundar C Babu’s music and background score is one of the major highlights of the film. ‘Koorana Paarvai’ and ‘Thoonga nagaram’ are the pick of the lot. Chithira Thiruvizha festival has been shot creating a set and looks real. Ofcourse Vijay’s camera acts as the picture perfect backgrounder.
On the whole Dhayanidhi Alagiri and his team can be proud about their maiden production which is worth a look.