It is not difficult to understand why Tamil cinema can never get their own Sherlock Holmes. We just cannot do without sentiments, super action (unnecessary) sequences and dragging the climax just to bring out the villain sob story.
Thupparivaalan tried to bring to Tamil audience the Sherlock Holmes from the 221B Baker street where actor Vishal donned the role of Holmes and Prasanna was Dr Watson. The movie indeed had an engaging plot that will keep you at the edge of the seat, barring the last 30 minutes. It is particularly interesting when you consider how an investigation of a sudden death of the dog lead the detective on to bigger and dangerous things. There were no songs, which was good and the story was paced well with regards to the flow of investigation.
I wished the movie did not bring in the unnecessary element of romance and drag the movie with sentiment. Sherlock Holmes created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was not capable of that. I started reading Adventures of Sherlock Holmes back in school days. I loved the Sherlock Doyle brought to the world who was eccentric, unsociable and will never give a damn about what does what him. He was different compared to other heroes, for he was a hero to me indeed. He is devoid of emotions that we consider normal and romance was unheard of. He will never go out of his way, unless it is for a case, to help a stranger let alone a women.
The only person he cared about was Dr Watson and the only woman who he considered his equal was Irene Adler (We know how long her presence lasted). He was a selfish brat, who wants things to be done in his time and in his own way. But irrespective of all this, he had a humane side, a very subtle one. I had always admired that side of the arrogant detective. Benedict Cumberbatch only made me fall in love with Holmes even more, if that was ever possible.
When you start watching the movie there is little doubt that the director intended to bring Sherlock Holmes through Kaniyan Poongundran. The design of the room, obsession with cases and insane demands were all the same. Vishal did try his best to give us Sherlock Holmes by being super intelligent, shouting at people who get close to him and is only concerned about Manohar, Dr Watson persona in the movie. I wished there was Mrs Hudson, an amicable elderly landlord who cares about Sherlock. When the movie started, I half expected her to come up with a cup of tea. Instead we have a young Mallika, a pickpocket and falls in love with him.
Well these are the kind of changes that are needed in a Tamil cinema. Come on, what is a movie without a heroine and emotional and tragic scenes. Then there was the climax scene which was typical of a masala movie where the hero chases the bad guy in an isolated area, alone flexing his muscles. Unnecessary of course, but pretty much needed. Fight ensues, he gets hurt and finally stands tall. This is so not a detective’s role I tell you. Sherlock would never do that and seriously the climax was way too exaggerated. Climax for the most part played like a police hero chases villain than a detective story. It just did not sit well with me.
While the story itself was refreshing, the same could not be said for characterisation. Vishal was unable to bring to the real Sherlock Holmes to the fore and that was a bit disappointing. It could have been a nobody and it would not have made a difference. I would say Vishal failed to make the role like Sherlock’s his own, while trying to emulate a bit of Benedict’s Sherlock. I don’t know if anyone told him that it is impossible for him to do that.
Prasanna’s role as Dr Watson was wasted too. During the course of the movie it made me wonder if Prasanna would have made a better detective. In the whole movie, I loved Vinay Rai the villain the most. He was chic and meticulous. With his nonchalant attitude, I would have loved to see more of him in the movie.
All in all, it was a decent movie worth spending Rs 150 and 3 hours of your time.