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Thuppakki poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by AR Murugadoss
Produced by Kalaipuli S. Thanu
Written by AR Murugadoss
Starring Vijay
Kajal Aggarwal
Vidyut Jamwal
Music by Harris Jayaraj
Cinematography Santosh Sivan
Edited by A. Sreekar Prasad
V Creations
Distributed by Gemini Film Circuit
SVR Media (Telugu)[1]
Release dates
  • 13 November 2012 (2012-11-13)
Running time
174 minutes
Country India
Language Tamil
Box office est. 187 crore (US$28 million)[2]

Thuppakki (English: The Gun) is a 2012 Indian Tamil-language action film written and directed by AR Murugadoss.[3][4] It features Vijay and Kajal Aggarwal in the lead roles,[5] Vidyut Jammwal as the antagonist,[6] as well as Jayaram and Sathyan in supporting roles.[7] 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.[8][9] 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.[10] Upon release, the film became the highest grossing Tamil film of 2012. The film was also released in Telugu under the same title in Andhra Pradesh, where it was also very well received. Thuppakki went on to win six Vijay Awards from sixteen nominations, and was nominated for seven South Filmfare Awards, including Best Film (Tamil), Best Director (Tamil) and Best Actor (Tamil). Murugadoss remade the film in Hindi as Holiday: A Soldier Is Never Off Duty in 2014, while Baba Yadav remade it in Bengali as Game in the same year. The film has also been dubbed into Hindi as Indian Soldier Never on Holiday by Goldmines Telefilms.


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 proposes to her, which after initial refusal, 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 manages to capture the man (Gautham Kurup) who laid the bomb, but he escapes from the hospital where he was kept under custody. Jagadish kidnaps the bomber again, and also forces the police officer who helped the bomber's escape, to commit suicide. Jagadish soon learns that the bomber is a mere executor, a sleeper agent, 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, including the previously captured sleeper cell agent.

When the leader of the terrorist group (Vidyut Jammwal) learns 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 the attack fails, the terrorist leader decides to target Jagadish himself. He kills Jagadish's friend and asks Jagadish to surrender to him or else there would be more terrorist attacks. Jagadish decides to sacrifice his life and devises 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 learns about the leader's plan of infiltrating the Indian Army with sleeper agents with the help of a traitor in the Indian Defense — Kameeruddin (Zakir Hussain), Jagadish decides to abandon his suicidal plan. He mocks the leader and compels him to a fight before escaping in a boat, with the leader as hostage. After the ship explodes, he kills the bewildered leader. Jagadish confronts Kameeruddin and forces him to commit suicide, before returning to Kashmir along with his fellow army men.


  • Vijay as Jagadish, captain of the Indian Army and a Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA) specialist
  • Kajal Aggarwal as Nisha, a boxer and Jagadish's love interest
  • Sathyan Sivakumar as Balaji, sub inspector of Bandra and Jagadish's friend
  • Vidyut Jamwal as the sleeper cell's unnamed leader
  • 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
  • Shankar Narayanan as Jagadish's father
  • Akshara Gowda as Shwetha
  • Meenakshi as Nisha's Friend

Director AR Murugadoss and Santosh Sivan make cameo appearances in the song "Google Google".[11]



In July 2011, sources reported that Vijay and AR Murugadoss would collaborate to make an action film, after completing their then-respective ongoing projects, Velayudham and 7aum Arivu.[12][13][14] Vijay's father S. A. Chandrasekhar was initially going to produce the film, but Kalaipuli S. Thanu took over the project.[15] Although Maalai Nerathu Mazhaithuli was initially considered as the title, the film became titled Thuppakki.[16][17] A. Sreekar Prasad and Thotta Tharani, who was making a comeback to Tamil films after a three-years hiatus, and Santosh Sivan were hired for editing, art direction and cinematography, respectively; all of whom worked on an AR Murugadoss film for the first time.[18]

Though Kingfisher Calendar model Angela Jonsson took part in a brief photo shoot with Vijay by Santosh Sivan in Chennai,[19] Kajal Aggarwal was eventually confirmed as the female lead,[20] while Akshara Gowda was cast to play the second female lead.[21] Gautham Kurup was chosen to play an antagonistic role,[22] while Vidyut Jamwal, who was simultaneously shooting for Billa II, would be playing another negative role.[23] Sathyan, following several collaborations with Vijay, confirmed that he was part of this project, too.[24] Further, Malayalam actor Jayaram also confirmed his presence in this project.[25] Murugadoss confirmed that he himself would appear in a cameo role.[26][27] Dubai-based Malayali orthodontist Prasanth Nair was also signed to play a small but important role, making it his acting debut in Tamil cinema.[28]


DY Patil Stadium, as seen in the song "Antarctica".

According to early reports, filming was to commence at Thiruchendur and continue in Mumbai.[29] Even though it was supposed to start on 26 November 2011,[30] filming began on 5 December in Mumbai.[18] Vijay would appear in a completely different hairstyle as well as a facial makeover.[31] The first schedule, that lasted for 35 days, was completed by January 2012.[32] 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.[33] Sivan commented that it was shot perfectly and decided to retain it in the film.[34][35] Sivan further told that a major part of the film was being shot in real locations with hidden cameras.[36] He did not use the usual 35 MM camera to shoot the film, but was said to have utilised 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.[37]

In March, the unit completed a 10-day shoot in Bangkok for a song sequence, featuring Vijay and Aggarwal.[38] The second schedule started on 12 April in Mumbai.[26] The third schedule ended in May 2012,[39] following which only two songs were remaining, both of which had been scheduled to be shot in Thailand.[40] 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.[41][42] The team then moved on to Pune for canning three songs.[43] One of the songs was shot atop of a train, along with 300 dancers constructed by art director Sunil Babu.[44] The dance sequence, choreographed by Shobi, was shot in the Mumbai Pune Expressway.[45] The crew then left for Switzerland to shoot a romantic number, with Vijay and Aggarwal, at various locations,[46] for which Sivan was unable to give dates, and Nutty, a Bollywood cameraman shot it instead.[47][48] The final song shoot took place at DY Patil Stadium in Mumbai, with which principal photography wrapped.[49][50] The budget of the film was estimated to be 700 million (equivalent to 920 million or US$14 million in 2016).[51]


Harris Jayaraj composed the soundtrack of Thuppakki, teaming up with Murugadoss for the third time.[52] The lyrics were written by Na. Muthukumar, Viveka and Madhan Karky, who had written over 35 pallavis for one of the songs.[53][54] Vijay, seven years after his last attempt at playback singing,[55] and Andrea Jeremiah lent their voices for "Google Google", a party number in the film.[56] Though Harris Jayaraj had announced in August that Thuppakki's music launch would take place the following month,[57] the audio was eventually released on 10 October 2012.[58]

No. Title Lyrics Singer(s) Length
1. "Google Google"   Madhan Karky Vijay, Andrea Jeremiah, Krishna Iyer, Joe 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:


The film was initially due to release on 9 November 2012, but was postponed by four days to 13 November, coinciding with Diwali day.[59] The film released in more than 1500 screens, becoming the widest release for a Vijay film.[60]

Upon release, an Islamic group violently protested against the film, claiming that it portrayed Muslims as terrorists and traitors.[61] 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,[62][63] after activists had gathered near Vijay's residence at Neelankarai and raised slogans against him and the film in Arabic and Urdu.[64]


The distribution rights for Thuppakki in Tamil Nadu were bought by Gemini Film Circuit.[65] Several distributors including Bellamkonda Suresh, Geetha Films and Suresh Films were competing for the Telugu dubbing rights, with SVR eventually purchasing the rights for 15 crore, the second highest in terms of obtaining the Telugu rights after Kamal Hasan's Dasavathaaram.[66] ATMUS Entertainment had reportedly paid the highest price for a Vijay film to distribute the film in North America.[67] It was distributed in France by BR Films International in more than 10 centres.[68]


Thuppakki's first look poster was leaked on the internet on 30 April 2012, a day prior to its scheduled release on 1 May.[69] 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.[70]

In October 2012, another promotional poster, which depicted a police-uniform clad Vijay carrying the Aggarwal on his hands was claimed to have been lifted from a poster of An Officer and a Gentleman (1982) which depicted its lead actor Richard Gere lifting actress Debra Winger.[71] Murugadoss claimed that Thuppakki did not have an army backdrop like Gere's film but was set in Mumbai instead, going on to assert that everything in his film was original.[72] He however admitted to have used the poster of An Officer and a Gentleman, and in an interview with The Hindu said, "Sometimes, you admire something so much that sub-consciously it becomes a part of your work".[73][74]

The makers confirmed that the film's first trailer would be released on 22 June, coinciding with Vijay's birthday.[75] However, Murugadoss announced that the teaser was to be released on 1 July, ten days later.[76] 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.[77] With the court case ending on 5 October,[78] the first teaser was released in October 2012.

Home media[edit]

The broadcasting rights were purchased by STAR Vijay for 11 crore (US$1.6 million).[79][80][81] Overseas DVD were marketed by Lotus Fivestar and Seyons TSK.[82][83]


Critical 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".[84] rated the film 3.5 out of 5 stars, calling it "a fully loaded festival package from Vijay, Murugadoss and co".[85] 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".[86] 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".[87]

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".[88] 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".[89] 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".[90] 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".[91] 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".[92]

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".[93] 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".[94] 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".[95] In contrast, Vivek Ramz from 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".[96] 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".[97]

Box office[edit]


On the opening day, Thuppakki netted around 92.5 million (US$1.4 million) in Tamil Nadu box office alone.[98] It collected a sum of 456 million (US$6.8 million) in Tamil Nadu,[99] and 653.2 million (US$9.7 million) worldwide by its first week.[10] In Chennai city alone, the film netted 48.3 million (US$720,000) in its first week with an average theatre occupancy of 99%.[100] The second week witnessed an occupancy of 90% in the city and netted around 94.1 million (US$1.4 million)[101] creating a new record for Vijay and taking a distributor share of 46.0 million (US$680,000) in 13 days.[102] It still stood in the number one position by the third week resulting in a total collection of 113.6 million (US$1.7 million).[103] After a long run for eight weeks at the Chennai box office, the film netted 134 million (US$2.0 million), the second highest figure among Tamil films.[104]

Ten days after the release, Thuppakki was released in 31 screens in Mumbai.[105] It was bought for a record price in Karnataka by a leading distributor, and opened well at the box office there.[106] The opening 3-day collection from 8 multiplexes of Bangalore alone netted at 3,180,000 (US$47,000)[107] Thuppakki was released in 126 screens in Kerala and collected 40 million (US$590,000) in two days with a distributor share of 20 million (US$300,000), 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.[108] The film reached the 1 billion (US$15 million) mark in 11 days of its release.[109][110] The film's total domestic box office collections at the end of its run stood at 1.8 billion according to distributors Eros International.[111]


In its first weekend, Thuppakki earned £134,280 ( 11.8 million) at the UK Box office. The film has collected 50 lakh in the second weekend on 11 screens.[112] The total collection of the film in the UK and Ireland region was 1.85 crore after the fourth weekend.[113] In the US, the film collected $320,349 ( 17.6 million) on 36 screens for the first week. The per screen average stands at $8,899 ( 488,000) and the Telugu version earned 846,000 from nine screens. At the end of its second week, it once again topped the collection chart by adding 7.5 million to its 13-day total 2.51 crore ($4,52,734).[114] In Australia, Thuppakki grossed A$80,264 ( 46,73,000) on six screens and the average per screen collection of the film stands out at A$1656 after two weeks.[115] The film continued to do good business at the International box office in its second week.[116] It performed well in Malaysia, where it grossed around 87.7 million (US$1.3 million) at the box office after three weeks.[117]


Award Category Nominee Result Ref.
60th Filmfare Awards South Best Film - Tamil Thuppakki Nominated [118]
Best Director - Tamil A. R. Murugadoss Nominated
Best Actor - Tamil Vijay Nominated
Best Supporting Actor - Tamil Vidyut Jamwal Nominated
Best Music Director - Tamil Harris Jayaraj Nominated
Best Lyricist - Tamil Madhan Karky
(Google Google)
Best Female Playback Singer - Tamil Andrea Jeremiah
(Google Google)
7th Vijay Awards Entertainer of the Year Vijay Won [119]
Favourite Film Thuppakki Won
Favourite Director AR Murugadoss Won
Favourite Hero Vijay Won
Favourite Heroine Kajal Aggarwal Won
Favourite Song Google Google Won
Best Film Thuppakki Nominated
Best Director A R Murugadoss Nominated
Best Actor Vijay Nominated
Best Actress Kajal Aggarwal Nominated
Best Villain Vidyut Jamwal Nominated
Best Editor A. Sreekar Prasad Nominated
Best Art Director Sunil Babu Nominated
Best Choreographer Shobi
Best Choreographer Sridar
(Alaikka Laikka)
Best Stunt Director Kechcha Nominated
2nd South Indian International Movie Awards Best Film S. Thanu Nominated [122]
Best Director AR Murugadoss Nominated
Best Actor Vijay Nominated
Best Actress (Critics) Kajal Aggarwal Won
Best Actor in a Negative Role Vidyut Jamwal Won
Best Comedian Jayaram Nominated
Best Male Playback Singer Vijay Nominated
Best Music Director Harris Jayaraj Won
Best Dance Choreographer Shobhi Nominated
Best Fight Choreographer Kecha Won
4th Edison Awards Best Director A.R. Murugadoss Nominated [124]
Best Actor Vijay Nominated
Best Music Director Harris Jayaraj Nominated
Best DOP Santosh Sivan Nominated
Best Editor Sreekar Prasad Won
Best Producer Kalaipuli S. Dhanu Won
Best Villain Vidyut Jamwal Nominated
Best Lyricist Madhan Karky
(Google Google)
Best Screenplay A.R. Murugadoss Nominated
Best Choreographer Shobi
Best Female Playback Singer Andrea Jeremiah
(Google Google)
Best Character Role Female Deepthi Nominated
Cosmopolitan People's Choice Awards Best Actor - Tamil Vijay Won [126]
Best Actress - Tamil Kajal Agarwal Won
CineMAA Awards Best Actor - Female (Tamil) Kajal Agarwal Won [127]
Chennai Times Film Awards Best Film Thuppakki Won [128]
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


Murugadoss remade the film in Hindi as Holiday: A Soldier Is Never Off Duty in 2014, starring Akshay Kumar in the leading role.[130] Baba Yadav remade it in Bengali as Game the same year starring Jeet.[131][132] The film was dubbed in Hindi as Indian Soldier Never on Holiday by Goldmines Telefilms.[133]

See also[edit]


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External links[edit]