Deiva Thirumagal is a poignant emotional tale of a father and daughter. A father who is as old as the daughter mentally and a daughter who loves her dad more than anything else. Vikram as Krishna is brilliant with his portrayal of an autistic adult whereas Sara is fantastic in her portrayal of a 5 year old. The supporting cast of Nasser, Anushka, Santhanam, Amala Paul are apt to the story with mellifluous music from GV Prakash and wonderful cinematography from Nirav Shah. Vijay has given one of the best movies of Tamil cinema that transcends Tamil cinema to the next level…
This would have been my review (like the other big bash reviewers) if I had not seen “I am Sam”. Alas, as an avid movie watcher I came across that movie long back when Sean Penn was nominated for the Best Actor Oscar. Deiva Thirumagal (DT) marks a new chapter in the book of Tamil Cinema plagiarism. Unlike the other reviewers claim, DT heavily inspires from “I am Sam” and the only difference being the second half of the movie because Vijay could not have copied that part as it’s very specific to US legal system.
Vikram’s Krishna is modelled completely on Sean Penn’s Sam. The actions, emotions, sound of the laugh, the way he runs, the way he kisses his daughter, the way he hugs his daughter, the meticulous way of arranging things, the way he speaks and even his hair style is Sam. I could see only Sean Penn and not Vikram. Although they have tried to comprehensively copy what Sean Penn did, Vikram could not even match 10% of what Sean Penn did (mind you some critics consider it’s not the greatest performance of Sean Penn till date). Sara’s Nila is completely different from Dakota Fanning’s Lucy because Lucy’s character is more matured and she understands what’s happening around her. Nila is more simplistic and straight forward Tamil movie child but Sara has portrayed Nila brilliantly. Some of her expressions tug your heart and she is the star of the movie for me.
The problem with DT is that it’s frivolous. The whole court room drama is nothing but a joke whereas in “I am Sam” it addresses the bigger issue of why a mentally challenged person should or should not raise a child. The way Anushka and Nasser try to manipulate the situations instead of real arguments completely takes away the seriousness of the issue. The way Vijay has taken liberty to copy the characters from the original is baffling. The four friends of Krishna is exact replica of the original – including the way they look. The first half of the movie is exact replica of I am Sam with a neighbour lady helping Krishna to understand about raising a child, the questions Nila asks, the shoe buying scene and even the Abbey road tribute scene. (Sean Penn is a Beatles fan in the movie and there is a tribute to Abbey road cover in the movie)
So after the first half is ready, Vijay understood he can’t have the same legal issues as the original. He brings in characters like the Grand Father (Sachin Khadekar), Aunt (Amala Paul) and Nasser (the lawyer). All set, bring in a lady lawyer (Anushka) for the protagonist (by the way Michelle Pfeiffer’s character is more complex in the original), so that it will be easy for a romantic angle too and assistants (Santhanam) for comic relief. Santhanam does evoke some laughter with his witty one-liners. Sprinkle some tear jerkers and the recipe for success is ready. GV Prakash has done some decent job with is songs – “Pa Pa”, “Vizhigalil” and “aariro” are wonderful tunes but he has to grow up in background scores. The way he switches between tunes in the scenes are jarring and abrupt. GV, please watch some Ilayaraja movies to understand the brilliance of silence.
Deiva Thirumagal is a very enjoyable tear jerker for a person who hasn’t seen the original. But it puts us with a question whether we should encourage such plagiarised content in Tamil movies. There are innumerable stories, short stories and novels that can be made as fantastic movies. But talented directors like Vijay are taking the easy way out in remaking movies and ripping off Hollywood stuff. I can’t understand whether it’s lack of creativity or “who’s gonna find out” attitude that makes them to do such movies. The way they claim shamelessly in TV programs about the way they created the story and characters is pathetic. Vikram was even more shameless to claim that he visited so many places to research about mentally challenged people when he has just replicated what Sean Penn did in the original. If you are making such movies, you are not taking the Tamil movies to next level but bringing it down to million levels down.
I am not going to rate this movie on any stars as it was painful to see such a rip off. And for those who think the movie is brilliant, I shall remind you – “Ignorance is bliss”