An engineering graduate with a loving family is forced to take on a vindictive politician and his son.
The David vs Goliath premise of Thiri is something that has worked very well for films like Dhil and Dhool. And director Ashok Amirtharaj sets his story against the backdrop of what has become the go-to issue for our filmmakers of late — the education sector. But the filmmaking is sluggish that even the inherent drama in the script doesn’t come alive on screen.
The story revolves around Jeeva (Ashwin), a final-year mechanical engineering student. He is the happy-go-lucky son in a typical ‘happy’ movie family — a father (Jayaprakash, putting on his Pasanga persona) who is strict on the outside but loves his son, a doting mother (Anupama Kumar), and a loving sister; there is even the playful girl-next-door, Swathi (Swathi) who serves as a romantic interest.
Swathi’s father is being pressurised by Angannan (AL Azhagappan), a big, bad politician looking to win an upcoming election, into selling his land for a lesser price. Meanwhile, Jeeva is involved in a skirmish with Kishore (Arjai), who happens to be Angannan’s son and also the correspondent of Jeeva’s college. Kishore has his revenge by messing with Jeeva’s conduct certificate. And when he realises that the father and son are not going to let him in peace, Jeeva decides to fight back.
The reason Thiri is underwhelming is not because of the predictable script but because it fails to inject fun into it. There are attempts at injecting comedy, alright, but they hardly bring a smile. And the film isn’t successful in nailing its tone. Jeeva’s payback moves are not that exciting and some of his moves are downright questionable. Like, why does he reveal that he is behind these plans to the politician there by putting his family and friends at risk? And the pacing, too, suffers, not just because of the entirely unnecessary songs, but because how drawn out the scenes are.
Where the film works is in the scenes that showcase the bond between Jeeva and his father. The understated style of Jayaprakash and Ashwin makes these scenes linger long. Jayaprakash, in fact, is given reams of dialogues, which, from many other actors would have tested our patience, but there is a quiet dignity about him that we connect to his character. But even he can do only so much, as we find out in the dampener of a climax.