Thuppakki

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Thuppakki
First look Thuppakki.jpg
Directed by AR Murugadoss
Produced by Kalaipuli S. Dhanu
Written by AR Murugadoss
Starring Vijay
Kajal Aggarwal
Sathyan
Vidyut Jamwal
Music by Harris Jayaraj
Cinematography Santosh Sivan
Edited by A. Sreekar Prasad
Production
  company
Kalaipuli Films International
Distributed by Gemini Film Circuit
SVR Media (Telugu)[1]
Release date(s)
  • 13 November 2012 (2012-11-13)
Running time 172 minutes
Country India
Language Tamil
Budget INR700 million (US$12 million)[2]
Box office INR1.8 billion (US$30 million) (Domestic Net)[3][4]

Thuppakki (English: The Gun) is a 2012 Indian Tamil action thriller film written and directed by AR Murugadoss.[5][6] It features Vijay and Kajal Aggarwal in the lead roles,[7] Vidyut Jamwal as main antagonist,[8] as well as Jayaram and Sathyan in supporting roles.[9] The film, produced by S. Thanu, features background score and soundtrack composed by Harris Jayaraj with cinematography handled by Santhosh Sivan, who with Thuppakki, introduced the Arri Alexa camera to Indian cinema.[10][11]

The story revolves around an Indian army intelligence officer from a Mumbai-based Tamil family on a mission to track down and destroy a terrorist group and deactivate the sleeper cells under its command. The film, which commenced production in December 2011 in Mumbai, was released on 13 November 2012, coinciding with the festival of Diwali.[12] Upon release, the film opened to mostly positive reviews from critics and became the highest grossing film of 2012 in Tamil. The film was also released in Telugu in Andhra Pradesh, where it was also very well received. Murugadoss remade the film in Hindi as Holiday: A Soldier Is Never Off Duty in 2014,[13] while Baba Yadav remade it in Bengali as Game the same year.[14][15]

Plot[edit]

Jagadish (Vijay), a captain in the Indian Army, returns to Mumbai from Kashmir. On his arrival, his parents and younger sisters force him to see Nisha (Kajal Aggarwal), who they choose for him to be married to. At the bride-viewing ceremony, Jagadish makes up excuses to avoid marrying her, which includes commenting about her being old-fashioned. On the contrary, Nisha is a college-level boxer, who is completely modern in her outlook. Jagadish realises this and falls for her, which she reciprocates.

One day, while travelling around the city with his police officer-friend Balaji (Sathyan), Jagadish witnesses the explosion of a bus in which they had travelled. He captures the man who planted the bomb in that bus and soon finds out that he is a mere executor, a sleeper cell, whose only role was to plant the bomb. He also discovers that the Islamic terrorist group Harkat-ul-Jihad al-Islami, which the bomber belongs to, has planned various such attacks in the city in a couple of days. Enlisting the help of his fellow Army men and Balaji, Jagadish manages to thwart these attacks and kill the sleeper cell leader's brother and eleven other terrorists.

When the leader of the terrorist group (Vidyut Jamwal) finds out about the role of Jagdish in the failure of the terrorist attack, he begins to target the families of the army men, except Jagadish, by kidnapping someone close to them. When Jagadish realises the plan, he substitutes one of the people to be kidnapped, with his younger sister Sanjana (Deepthi Nambiar). Using his pet dog and his sister's dupatta, he manages to reach the terrorists' hideout, rescuing his sister, who was about to be killed after Jagadish's bluff was exposed, and the other victims and eliminating the terrorists assembled there. Asif Ali (MD Asif), the second-in-command of the sleeper cells is captured and killed by Jagdish.

When this attack fails, the terrorist leader decides to target Jagadish himself. He asks Jagadish to surrender to him or else there would be more terrorist attacks. Jagadish decides to sacrifice his life and hatches a plan with his fellow army men. Jagadish meets the leader in a ship, which has been rigged with a bomb planted by Jagadish's friend. When he finds out about the leader's plan however, which is to expose Jagadish's army team as terrorists and knowing about a Muslim terrorist in the Indian defence — Kameeruddin (Zakir Hussain), he fights the leader and escapes with him in a boat. After the ship explodes, he kills the leader. The film ends with Jagadish forcing Kameeruddin to commit suicide, and later returning to Kashmir along with his team.

Cast[edit]

  • Vijay as Jagadish, captain of the Indian Army; also a Defense Intelligence Agent (DIA) specialist
  • Kajal Agarwal as Nisha, a boxer who is Jagadish's love interest
  • Sathyan as Balaji, Sub Inspector of Bandra, also Jagadish's friend
  • Vidyut Jamwal as the sleeper cell's leader, the antagonist
  • Jayaram as V. Ravichandran, Jagadish's Senior Commanding Officer
  • Zakir Hussain as Kameeruddin, a sleeper cell
  • Deepthi Nambiar as Sanjana, Jagadish's younger sister
  • Manobala as Nisha's father
  • Anupama Kumar as Nisha's mother
  • MD Asif as Asif Ali, the sleeper cell's second-in-command
  • Prayas Mann as sleeper cell leader's brother
  • Prashant Nair as Noel, Joel's younger brother
  • Gautham Kurup as the first sleeper cell
  • Akshara Gowda as Shwetha (Special Appearance)
  • Meenakshi as Nisha's Friend (Special appearance)
  • AR Murugadoss (Special appearance in the song "Google Google")[16]
  • Santhosh Sivan (Special appearance in the song "Google Google")[16]

Production[edit]

Development[edit]

In July 2011, sources reported that Vijay and AR Murugadoss would collaborate to make an action film, after completing their respective ongoing projects, Velayudham and 7aum Arivu.[17][18][19] Vijay's father S. A. Chandrasekhar was initially going to produce the film, but Kalaipuli S. Thanu took over the project.[20] Although Maalai Nerathu Mazhaithuli was initially considered as the title, the film became titled Thuppakki.[21][22] National Film Award winners A. Sreekar Prasad and Thotta Tharani, who was making a comeback to Tamil films after a three-years hiatus, and Santhosh Sivan were hired for editing, art direction and cinematography, respectively; all of whom worked on an AR Murugadoss film for the first time.[23]

Casting[edit]

Deepika Padukone was first reported to be the female lead.[24] Subsequently, several actresses, including Bollywood actresses Sonam Kapoor,[25] and Priyanka Chopra,[26] who later clarified that she was never approached for the film.[27] Priya Anand, who played the female lead in Vaamanan,[28] Pranitha,[29] and Kingfisher Calendar model Angela Jonsson[30] were rumoured to play the role, with the latter even taking part in a brief photo shoot in Chennai. Kajal Aggarwal was eventually confirmed,[31] while Akshara Gowda was cast to play the second female lead.[32] Gautham Kurup was chosen to play an antagonistic role,[33] while Vidyut Jamwal, who was simultaneously shooting for Ajith Kumar's Billa II, would be playing a role with negative shades.[34] Sathyan, following several collaborations with Vijay, confirmed that he was part of this project, too.[35] Further, Malayalam actor Jayaram also confirmed his presence in this project.[36] Murugadoss denied reports which claimed that Jai was acting in the film,[37] while confirming that he himself would appear in a cameo role.[38][39] Sarathkumar was rumoured to be acting in the film,[40][41] however the actor denied the reports.[42] Dubai-based Malayali orthodontist Prasanth Nair was also signed to play a small but important role, making it his acting debut in Tamil cinema.[43]

Filming[edit]

According to early reports, filming was to commence at Thiruchendur and continue in Mumbai.[44] Even though it was supposed to start on 26 November 2011,[45] filming began on 5 December in Mumbai.[23] Vijay would appear in a completely different hairstyle as well as a facial makeover.[46] The first schedule, that lasted for 35 days, was completed by January 2012.[47] At Linking Road in Bandra, Mumbai, Vijay acted and operated the camera himself for one scene with cinematographer Santosh Sivan's assistance, which had to be filmed quickly with the unaware public.[48] Sivan commented that it was shot perfectly and decided to retain it in the film.[49][50] Sivan further told that a major part of the film was being shot in real locations with hidden cameras.[51] He did not use the usual 35 MM camera to shoot the film, but was said to have exploited the latest Arri digital technology, that was introduced in 2011, becoming one of the first persons in the world to make use of the technology.[52]

In March, the unit completed a 10-day shoot in Bangkok for a song sequence, featuring Vijay and Kajal.[53] The second schedule started on 12 April in Mumbai.[38] The third schedule was wrapped up in May 2012,[54] following which only two songs were remaining, both of which had been scheduled to be shot in Thailand.[55] Vijay met with a minor accident during the shoot and hurt his knee. The shooting was stalled following the incident and the actor left to London to undergo treatment.[56][57] The team then moved on to Pune for canning three songs.[58] One of the songs was shot atop of a train, along with 300 dancers constructed by art director Sunil Babu.[59] The dance sequence, choreographed by Shobi, was shot in the Mumbai Pune Expressway.[60] The crew then left for Switzerland to shoot a romantic number, with Vijay and Kajal Aggarwal, at various locations,[61] for which Sivan was unable to give dates, and the man behind the lens was a popular cameraman of the Hindi film industry, Nutty.[62][63] The final song shoot took place at DY Patil Stadium in Mumbai, with which the entire filming was wrapped up.[64][65]

Marketing[edit]

Thuppakki's first look poster was leaked on the internet on 30 April 2012, a day prior to its scheduled release on 1 May.[66] The poster, that depicted Vijay holding a cigar in his mouth, led to criticism by social activists for violating the Indian Tobacco Act, which prohibits advertising tobacco products. Murugadoss however defended the poster, explaining that it was only for promotional purposes and added that the film had no such scenes, claiming that even a small sequence featuring Vijay smoking had been deleted from the film.[67]

Murugadoss approached a Mumbai-based trailer specialist for the first official teaser of Thuppakki.[68] The makers confirmed that it would be released on 22 June, coinciding with Vijay's birthday.[69] However, Murugadoss announced that the teaser was to be released on 1 July, ten days later.[70] Upon progression, the teaser and poster launch event was delayed, following an injunction order from the court, which had directed the makers of the film not to use the Thuppakki title in any form.[71]

With the court case coming to an end on 5 October,[72] the first teaser was released on 10 October 2012, a day before the audio launch of the film, the teaser garnering more than 1,000,000 views within a few days on YouTube. It recorded the highest-ever user hits for a Tamil film, breaking the record of Neethaane En Ponvasantham and Billa 2.[73] The teaser was also highly anticipated on social networking sites like Twitter and soon became the most searched keyword at Google India.[74] The teaser of the song Google Google was released in late October 2012, receiving positive response from viewers.[75] The theatrical trailer was released on 26 October and received a positive response, fetching over 600,000 hits on YouTube and over 7,000 likes in three days.[76]

Soundtrack[edit]

Harris Jayaraj composed the soundtrack, teaming up with AR Murugadoss for the third time.[77] The soundtrack album consists of 7 tracks. The lyrics were written by Na. Muthukumar, Vivega and Madhan Karky, who had written over 35 pallavis for one of the songs.[78][79] Reports stating that Senegalese American R&B singer Akon would sing the title song of the film were dismissed.[80][81] Vijay, seven years after his last attempt at playback singing,[82] and Andrea Jeremiah lent their voices for the track Google Google, a party number in the film.[83] Though Harris Jayaraj had announced in August that Thuppakki's music launch would take place the following month,[84] the audio was eventually released on 10 October 2012.[85]

Tracklist
No. Title Lyrics Singer(s) Length
1. "Google Google"   Madhan Karky Vijay, Andrea Jeremiah, Joe, Krishna Iyer 06:07
2. "Antarctica"   Madhan Karky Vijay Prakash, Krish, Devan, Rajeev 04:58
3. "Kutti Puli Kootam"   Viveka Hariharan, Tippu, Narayanan, Sathyan, Ranina Reddy 06:06
4. "Poi Varava"   Pa. Vijay Karthik, Chinmayi 05:46
5. "Vennilave"   Na. Muthukumar Hariharan, Bombay Jayashri 04:47
6. "Alaikaa Laikka"   Pa. Vijay Javed Ali, Sayanora Phillip, Sharmila 05:01
7. "Jagadish on Mission (Theme)"     Instrumental 03:24
Total length:
36:12

Release[edit]

The distribution rights for Thuppakki in Tamil Nadu were bought by Gemini Film Circuit.[86] Several distributors including Bellamkonda Suresh, Geetha Films and Suresh Films were competing for the Telugu dubbing rights, with SVR eventually purchasing the rights for INR 15 crore, the second highest in terms of obtaining the Telugu rights after Kamal Hasan's Dasavatharam.[87] ATMUS Entertainment had reportedly paid the highest price for a Vijay film to distribute the film in North America.[88] It was distributed in France by BR Films International in more than 10 centres.[89] The television rights were purchased by STAR Vijay.[90][91] Thuppakki was originally passed with a U/A certificate from the Central Board of Film Certification, but "slight alterations" were later made to the film to receive a U certificate.[92] The film was initially due to release on 9 November 2012, but was postponed by four days to 13 November, coinciding with Diwali day.[93] The film released in more than 1500 screens, becoming the widest release for a Vijay film.[94]

Upon release, an Islamic group violently protested against the film, claiming that it portrayed Muslims as terrorists and traitors.[95] Murugadoss, S. Thanu and Vijay's father S. A. Chandrasekhar later tendered an open apology to representatives of 23 different Muslim outfits, and agreed to delete the scenes to which objections were raised,[96][97] after activists had gathered near Vijay's residence at Neelankarai and raised slogans against him and the film in Arabic and Urdu.[98]

Reception[edit]

L Romal M Singh of DNA India stated that the film "is different. The difference is visible in every shot, every dialogue spoken and the amazing attention to detail. What stands out most in this incredibly entertaining film is that Tamil films have finally come of age – in so many interesting ways".[99] Behindwoods.com rated the film 3.5 out of 5 stars, calling it "a fully loaded festival package from Vijay, Murugadoss and co".[100] Deccan Chronicle rated it 3.5/5 and cited: "Thuppaki has come out as an action thriller that depends on mind games and smart plans rather than bloody fights. This is Murugados’s film in its true sense and Vijay adds immense value to it by his performance".[101] IBNLive named it a "well written Tamil film that engages the audience" and added that it had "the energy of Vijay and intellect of AR Murugadoss".[102]

Manoj Kumar of International Business Times wrote: "Director AR Murugadoss makes sure that he does not regress with any of his films. He frequently comes out with a different plot and narration style, and "Thuppaki is a brilliant example of this".[103] Sify's critic stated that Murugadoss "has made a complete entertainer that blends with Vijay’s mass image, thanks to his racy script", calling it a "perfect Diwali entertainer".[104] Sangeetha Devi Dundoo of The Hindu commented: "One of the first promos of the film, with snapshots of Mumbai, lurking terror, the antagonist threatening Vijay to which he responds 'I am waiting' went viral on social networks. The wait, clearly, has been worth it for the audience. And the man who’s probably having the last laugh is Murugadoss".[105] OneIndia rated the film 3 out of 5 and said, "Vijay is stupendous in the role of an army officer. He brings a lot of energy to his character and thrills the audience in action sequences. Kajal Aggarwal looks good. Vidyut Jamwal has done decent job and Satyan is good".[106] Haricharan Pudipeddi of The New Indian Express said, "Most of the characters are made to look dumb as Vijay steals all the attention. Kajal's role as a boxer, which she squanders with her cliched performance, is definitely a turn off in the film. Jayaram and Sathyan, who're supposed to make us laugh, fail miserably in the process" and concluded, "In essence, "Thuppakki" has the energy of Vijay and intellect of A.R. Murugadoss".[107]

J Hurtado of Twitch Film called the film's cinematography "astonishingly good" and added that, "Murugadoss and Vijay have never worked on a better-looking movie", but called the film "an enjoyable, though largely forgettable film".[108] Kanchana Devi of Truthdive rated the film 3.75/5, calling it "a perfect action entertainer and a great treat for Diwali from Vijay and A.R.Murugadoss".[109] Indiaglitz said, "Murugadoss has packaged 'Thuppakki' in such a manner that Vijay's mass image keeps the film afloat and he has ensured that there is everything for a (Vijay) fan to look forward to."[110] N. Venkateshwaran of The Times of India said, "'Thuppakki' will definitely be picked up by a big Bollywood star for a remake. For, the gun was bang on target".[111] In contrast, Vivek Ramz from in.com rated it 3 out of 5 and said that it "doesn't meet the huge expectations it had created for itself", calling it "another regular commercial film which entertains in bits and pieces".[112] Pavithra Srinivasan of Rediff rated the film 2.5 out of 5, saying "Vijay fans will find plenty to rejoice in this subdued avatar of their star, but audiences who seek intelligence in their movies will find it rather dull".[113]

Reviewing the Telugu version, Oneindia Entertainment stated: "Vijay has improved his performance and body language to suit the Telugu nativity. Because of the director's exceptional ideas, the action scenes, kidnap scenes and mind games worked out well. Kajal Aggarwal did not have much scope to perform but did her part well, as she was almost limited to dance sequences. Vidyut Jamwal did a very good job as a bad guy. Thuppakki is a good action-thriller".[114]

Box office[edit]

India

On the opening day, Thuppakki netted around INR92.5 million (US$1.5 million) in Tamil Nadu box office alone.[115] It collected a sum of INR456 million (US$7.6 million) in Tamil Nadu,[116] and INR653.2 million (US$11 million) worldwide by its first week.[12] In Chennai city alone, the film netted INR48.3 million (US$800,000) in its first week with an average theatre occupancy of 99%.[117] The second week witnessed an occupancy of 90% in the city and netted around INR94.1 million (US$1.6 million)[118] creating a new record for Vijay and taking a distributor share of INR46.0 million (US$760,000) in 13 days.[119] It still stood in the number one position by the third week resulting in a total collection of INR113.6 million (US$1.9 million).[120] After a long run for 8 weeks at the Chennai box office, the film netted INR134 million (US$2.2 million), the second highest figure among Tamil films.[121]

Ten days after the release, Thuppakki was released in 31 screens in Mumbai.[122] It was bought for a record price in Karnataka by a leading distributor, and opened well at the box office there.[123] The opening 3-day collection from 8 multiplexes of Bangalore alone netted at INR3180000 (US$53,000)[124] Thuppakki was released in 126 screens in Kerala and raked in INR40 million (US$660,000) in just two days with a distributor share of INR20 million (US$330,000), which is a record for any Tamil release. Many of the centres witnessed police charging before the shows and were forced to go for a fifth show on the first day which resulted in almost 600 shows in a single day: a record number of screenings for any film in the state.[125] The film reached the INR1 billion (US$17 million) mark in 11 days of its release.[126][127] In its financial results for the quarter ending 31 December 2013, Eros announced a domestic net revenue of INR1.8 billion (US$30 million) for Thuppakki.[3][4]

Overseas

In its first weekend, Thuppakki earned £134,280 (INR 11.8 million) at the UK Box office. The film has collected INR 50 lakh in the second weekend on 11 screens.[128] The total collection of the film in the UK and Ireland region was INR 1.85 crore after the fourth weekend.[129] In the US, the film collected $320,349 (INR 17.6 million) on 36 screens for the first week. The per screen average stands at $8,899 (INR 488,000) and the Telugu version earned INR 846,000 from nine screens. At the end of its second week, it once again topped the collection chart by adding INR 7.5 million to its 13-day total INR 2.51 crore ($4,52,734).[130] In Australia, Thuppakki grossed A$80,264 (INR 46,73,000) on 6 screens and the average per screen collection of the film stands out at A$1656 after two weeks.[131] The film continued to do good business at the International box office in its second week.[132] It performed well in Malaysia, where it grossed around INR87.7 million (US$1.5 million) at the box office after 3 weeks.[133]

Accolades[edit]

  • 2nd South Indian International Movie Awards[138]
    • Best Film - S. Thanu - Nominated
    • Best Director - AR Murugadoss - Nominated
    • Best Actor - Vijay - Nominated
    • Best Actress (Critics) - Kajal Aggarwal - Won[139]
    • Best Actor in a Negative Role - Vidyut Jamwal - Won[139]
    • Best Comedian - Jayaram - Nominated
    • Best Male Playback Singer - Vijay - Nominated
    • Best Music Director - Harris Jayaraj - Won[139]
    • Best Dance Choreographer - Shobhi - Nominated
    • Best Fight Choreographer - Kecha - Won[139]
  • 4th Edison Awards[140]
    • Best Director - A.R. Murugadoss - Nominated
    • Best Actor - Vijay - Nominated
    • Best Music Director - Harris Jayaraj - Nominated
    • Best DOP - Santosh Sivan - Nominated
    • Best Editor - Sreekar Prasad - Won[141]
    • Best Producer - Kalaipuli S. Dhanu - Won[141]
    • Best Villain - Vidyut Jamwal - Nominated
    • Best Lyricist - Madhan Karky (for "Google Google") - Won[141]
    • Best Screenplay - A.R. Murugadoss - Nominated
    • Best Choreographer - Shobi (for "Antartica") - Nominated
    • Best Female Playback Singer - Andrea Jeremiah (for "Google Google") - Nominated
    • Best Character Role Female - Deepthi - Nominated
  • Cosmopolitan People's Choice Awards[142]
    • Best Actor - Tamil - Vijay - Won
    • Best Actress - Tamil - Agarwal - Won
  • Chennai Times Film Awards[143]
    • Best Film - Won[144]
    • Best Director - A. R. Murugadoss - Nominated
    • Best Actor - Vijay - Nominated
    • Best Actor in a Negative Role - Vidyut Jamwal - Nominated
    • Best Screenplay - A. R. Murugadoss - Nominated

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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