The latest entrant in the list of a rich rogue with some human feelings, a trend started some fifteen years ago by I V Sasi with Mohanlal in Devasuram, is this Malayalam film Thanthonni starring Prithviraj in the lead and directed by debutant George Varghese.
Prithviraj, with the confidence of being proclaimed a star with a couple of solo hits last year tries to further consolidate his position in the constellation of stars. Writer T A Shahid has come out with a story that is woven around his character.
Kochukunju (Prithviraj), a scion of Vadakkan Veettil Tharavadu is a 'good for nothing fellow' always in an inebriated state and picking up fights with all and sundry.
There are other familiar facts about such a character; the missing father, wronged in childhood and above all a teary-eyed mother suffering silently because of the wayward lifestyle of her son. He is a thorn in eye of the other members of the extended family as he is only blemish in the otherwise illustrious bloodline.
So, you begin to feel uneasy after a while after the hero's comic entry and a couple of mandatory action sequences where he settles score with the goons of his family's traditional business rivals and even bashing up the police personnel on the road and then in the lock-up. You start thinking about where the story is headed. Will he end up teaching a lesson to his high- flying cousins who have committed to invest their share of inheritance from the ancestral businesses into the modern property development schemes or will there some other novel twist in the tale?
The brain behind this venture did have an idea to surprise us, but it is as contrived as our Mundu clad rustic man becomes suit-clad helicopter-hopping business tycoon and then an underworld don. The way these events unfold is very unconvincing, to say the least. Even the technical wizardry falls flat as the narrative for which it is used does not feel too authentic.
Prithviraj as an actor has some good moments in the beginning as they are peppered with humour. But, after a while, it seems as tedious for him to carry on in such a manner as it is difficult for the viewer to stay focused. In the latter part of the film, he becomes typically intense. He has shouldered such roles in the past, the most vivid memory of such a performance would be his performance in Kamal's Swapnakudu.
The other actors in the supporting cast have hardly anything to do except for Saikumar as Kochukunju's father and Suraj Venjaramudu as the comic sidekick of the hero (mimicking none other than Sukumaran in the initial stages of the film).
Of the two prominent females; yesteryear's heroine Ambika as protagonist's mother does demand our attension. But the same cannot be said about the female lead Sheela, whose role as Kochukunju's love interest is hardly of any consequence.
Thanthonni may have been an ambitious project for Prithviraj and the debutant director George Varghese. But the oft- repeated storyline and lack of novelty in presentation gives the film a jaded look.