Thuppakki

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Thuppakki
Thuppakki poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by AR Murugadoss
Written byAR Murugadoss
Produced by Kalaipuli S. Thanu
Starring
Cinematography Santosh Sivan
Edited by A. Sreekar Prasad
Music by Harris Jayaraj
Production
company
V Creations
Distributed by Gemini Film Circuit
Release date
  • 13 November 2012 (2012-11-13)
Running time
169 minutes
CountryIndia
LanguageTamil
Box officeest.1.25 billion [1]

Thuppakki (transl.Gun) is a 2012 Indian Tamil-language action thriller film written and directed by AR Murugadoss. Produced by Kalaippuli S. Thanu under his studio V Creations, and distributed by Gemini Film Circuit, the film stars Vijay and Kajal Aggarwal, with Sathyan, Vidyut Jammwal, Jayaram, Manobala and Zakir Hussain in supporting roles. It revolves around an intelligence officer in the Indian Army on a mission to track down, destroy and deactivate a sleeper cell, after witnessing and barely escaping a bomb blast executed by the cell.

Contents

The project, which marked the beginning of a collaboration between Vijay and Murugadoss, was reported in July 2011, and the film's title was formally announced on the same year in December. Principal photography of the film commenced in January 2012 and ended in October 2012. Filming mostly took place in Mumbai, except for two song sequences which were taken in Bangkok and Switzerland respectively. The film's music was composed by Harris Jayaraj with cinematography handled primarily by Santosh Sivan and editing by A. Sreekar Prasad.

Thuppakki was released on 13 November 2012, Diwali day. The film went through numerous controversies, including protests from Islamic fringe groups, due to the objectionable portrayal of the Islamic community in the film. Nevertheless, it received positive reviews and became a major commercial success, grossing over 1 billion (US$13 million) within 11 days of its release. A recipient of various accolades, the film went on to receive seven Filmfare Awards South nominations in the Tamil branch, but did not win in any category. However, it won four SIIMA Awards, six Vijay Awards, three Edison Awards, a Chennai Times Film Award, Ananda Vikatan Cinema Award, CineMAA Award each. In 2014, Murugadoss remade the film in Hindi as Holiday: A Soldier Is Never Off Duty , while Baba Yadav remade it in Bengali as Game .

Plot

Jagadish Dhanapal, an intelligence officer in the Indian Army, returns to Mumbai from Kashmir. On his arrival, his parents and younger sisters force him to see Nisha, 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 university-level boxer, who is completely modern in her outlook. Jagadish notices her in a boxing match and falls in love with her instantly. Nisha reciprocates after refusing him initially.

One day, Jagadish witnesses the explosion of a bus in which he and his police officer-friend Balaji had travelled. He manages to capture the man who laid the bomb, but he escapes from the hospital where he was kept under custody. Jagadish captures 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 sleeper cell, 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 agent leader's brother and eleven other agents, including the previously captured sleeper agent.

When the leader of the sleeper cell learns about the role of Jagdish in thwarting the 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. Using his pet dog and his sister's dupatta , he manages to reach the sleeper cell's hideout, rescuing his sister, who was about to be killed after Jagadish's bluff was exposed, and the other victims and eliminating the sleeper agents assembled there. The second-in-command of the sleeper agents is captured and killed by Jagdish.

With this attack too having failed, the sleeper cell leader decides to target Jagadish himself. He kills one of Jagadish's friends and asks Jagadish to surrender to him or else there would be more 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 another friend of Jagadish. 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 IAS, the current Joint Secretary in Defence, 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 a 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.

Cast

Production

Development

In July 2011, it was reported that Vijay and AR Murugadoss would collaborate to make an action film, after completing their then-respective ongoing projects, Velayudham and 7aum Arivu . [9] Vijay's father S. A. Chandrasekhar was initially going to produce the film, but Kalaipuli S. Thanu eventually took over, producing it under his banner V Creations. [10] [11] Although the film was initially titled Maalai Nerathu Mazhaithuli, [12] in December 2011, the new title was revealed: Thuppakki. [13] Instead of his regular editor Anthony and art director Rajeevan, Murugadoss chose A. Sreekar Prasad and Thota Tharani for those positions, respectively. Santosh Sivan was hired as cinematographer. [14]

Casting

Though Kingfisher Calendar model Angela Jonsson took part in a brief photoshoot with Vijay by Sivan in Chennai, [15] Kajal Aggarwal was eventually confirmed as the female lead. [16] [17] Akshara Gowda joined the cast for a single scene as she only wanted to "gain the experience of working with Murugadoss". [18] In early 2012, Vidyut Jammwal, who was simultaneously shooting for Billa II , said he would play the main antagonist. [19] Sathyan confirmed his participation in the film in January 2012, [20] and Malayalam actor Jayaram confirmed his presence the following month. [21] In April 2012, Murugadoss confirmed that he himself would appear onscreen. [22] That was eventually revealed to be a cameo in the song "Google Google", where Sivan also cameoed. [23] Dubai-based Malayali orthodontist Prasanth Nair was also signed to play a small but important role of a commando, making it his acting debut in Tamil cinema. [24] [25]

Filming

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

Principal photography was initially supposed to start on 26 November 2011, [10] but the first schedule began in January 2012, and lasted for 35 days. [12] [26] At Linking Road in Bandra, Vijay acted and operated the camera himself for one scene with Sivan's assistance, which had to be filmed quickly with the unaware public. Sivan commented that it was shot perfectly and decided to retain it in the film. [27] Sivan further told that a major part of the film was being shot in real locations with hidden cameras. [28] He shot Thuppakki with an Arri Alexa camera, as opposed to traditional 35 mm film. [12] [29] Although Sivan has mostly preferred to shoot on film, he stated that he shot Thuppakki digitally because "the story and milieu of [Murugadoss's] script demanded it". [30]

In March, the unit completed a 10-day shoot in Bangkok for "Google Google", picturised on Vijay and Aggarwal. [31] [32] In Mumbai, while Vijay was filming a sequence which involved him jumping from a height, he slipped and injured his knee; he was not wearing a knee-pad at the time. Shooting was stalled following the incident and Vijay left to London to undergo treatment. [33] One of the film's songs was shot atop of a train, along with 300 dancers constructed by art director Sunil Babu. The dance sequence, choreographed by Shobi, was shot in the Mumbai–Pune Expressway. [12] Another song, "Vennilave" was shot in Switzerland; [31] since Sivan was unable to give dates, Natarajan "Natty" Subramaniam shot it instead. [34] [35] The song "Antarctica" was shot at DY Patil Stadium in Mumbai, with which principal photography wrapped. [36] The budget of the film was estimated to be 700 million (equivalent to 1.1 billionorUS$15 million in 2020). [37]

Soundtrack

Harris Jayaraj composed the soundtrack of Thuppakki, collaborating with Murugadoss for the third time after Ghajini (2005) and 7aum Arivu (2011). [38] The lyrics were written by Na. Muthukumar, Pa. Vijay, Viveka and Madhan Karky, who had written over 35 pallavis for one of the songs, with one being finalised. [39] The party number "Google Google", a duet between Andrea Jeremiah and Vijay, [40] [41] marked the latter's return to playback singing after a seven-year sabbatical; his last song was "Vaadi Vaadi" from Sachein (2005). [42] Though Harris Jayaraj had announced in August that Thuppakki's audio launch would take place in September, [43] the audio was eventually released on 10 October 2012. [40]

Release

Thuppakki was earlier scheduled to be released on 9 November 2012, receiving U certificate after minor cuts from the Central Board of Film Certification. [44] The makers opted for a traditional Friday release, [45] since the date appears four days ahead of Diwali, which falls on 13 November, a Tuesday. [46] However, the makers reconsidered their decision and pushed the release coinciding towards the festival. [47] [48] Thuppakki released along with Silambarasan's Podaa Podi and Shah Rukh Khan's Jab Tak Hai Jaan . [49] The film released in more than 1500 screens, becoming the widest release for a Vijay film at that time. [50]

Post release, Islamic fringe groups protested against the film and its makers, claiming that it portrayed Muslims as terrorists and traitors. [51] Some of the activists gathered near Vijay's residence at Neelankarai on 14 November 2012, a day after its release, and raised slogans against him and the film in Arabic and Urdu. [52] [53] Later, Murugadoss, S. Thanu and S. A. Chandrasekhar later apologised openly to representatives of 23 different Muslim outfits, and agreed to delete the scenes to which objections were raised. [54] [55] [56]

Distribution

Gemini Film Circuit distributed the original Tamil version. [57] Several distributors including Bellamkonda Suresh, Geetha Films, Suresh Films and SVR Media competed for the Telugu dubbing rights, with SVR eventually purchasing the rights for 15 crore. [58] ATMUS Entertainment distributed the film in North America, [59] and BR Films International did so in France. [60]

Marketing

Thuppakki's first look poster was leaked on 30 April 2012, a day prior to its scheduled release. [61] The poster, that depicted Vijay holding a cigar in his mouth, was criticised by social activists for violating the Indian Tobacco Act, which prohibits advertising tobacco products. Murugadoss explained 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. [62]

In October 2012, another poster, which depicted a police-uniform clad Vijay carrying Aggarwal on his hands, was believed to have been lifted from a poster of An Officer and a Gentleman (1982). Murugadoss claimed that Thuppakki did not have an army backdrop like An Officer and a Gentleman, but was set in Mumbai instead, going on to assert that everything in his film was original. [63] He, however, admitted to having used the poster of An Officer and a Gentleman, and told The Hindu , "Sometimes, you admire something so much that sub-consciously it becomes a part of your work". [64]

The makers initially announced that the film's first trailer would be released on 22 June 2012, during Vijay's birthday. [65] [66] However, the teaser release was postponed to 1 July, [67] to avoid clashing with the theatrical release of Saguni . [68] It was further delayed after a lawsuit was filed against the makers, by filmmaker Ravi Devan, who claimed that the title bore a similarity to his film Kallathuppakki. This suit slowed the film's promotional activities. [69] [70] [71] After Ravi Devan withdrew his case in early October, [72] the first trailer was released in the same month on 10 October 2012, [40] which was premiered along with Maattrraan . [73] The second trailer of the film was released on 26 October. [74]

Home media

Overseas DVD were marketed by Lotus Fivestar and Seyons TSK. [75] [76] Initially, Jaya TV, acquired the film's satellite rights, but later sold to Star Vijay. [77]

Reception

Critical response

Thuppakki received mostly positive reviews from critics. [78] L Romal M Singh of Daily News and Analysis 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". [79] . Deccan Chronicle rated it 3.5 out of 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". [80] CNN-News18 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". [81] 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". [2]

Sify rated the film 4 out of 5 and 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". [82] 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". [83] For the same newspaper, Karthik Subramaniam wrote, "One can only wonder just how much better Thuppakki would have been if it had done away with the song-and-dance-and-romance and such trappings." [3] 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 clichéd 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". [84]

J Hurtado of Screen Anarchy called the 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". [85] 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". [86] 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". [87] 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". [88] Ananda Vikatan rated the film 44 out of 100. [89]

Box office

On the opening day, Thuppakki netted around 92.5 million (US$1.2 million) in Tamil Nadu box office alone. [90] It collected a sum of 456 million (US$6.1 million) in Tamil Nadu, [91] and 653 million (US$8.7 million) worldwide by its first week. [49] In the UK and Ireland, Thuppakki grossed 1.85 crore after the fourth weekend. [92] In Australia, it 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. [93] The film continued to do good business at the international box office in its second week. [94] In Malaysia, it grossed $1,732,792 as of December 2012. [95] Within 11 days of its release, the film reached the 1 billion (US$13 million) mark, [96] [97] and S. Saraswathi of Rediff stated that it was the first Tamil film to do so. [98] Its total domestic box office collections at the end of its run stood at 1.8 billion according to distributors Eros International. [99] Writing for International Business Times in 2017, Prakash Upadhyaya estimated the final worldwide earnings to be over 1.25 billion. [1]

Accolades

At the 60th Filmfare Awards South, Thuppakki was nominated for seven categories including Best Film, Best Director (Murugadoss) and Best Actor (Vijay), but did not win in any category. [100] However, the film won four of ten nominations at the 2nd South Indian International Movie Awards: Best Actress – Critics for Aggarwal, Best Actor in a Negative Role for Jammwal, Best Music Director for Harris Jayaraj and Best Fight Choreographer for Kecha. [101] [102] The film as nominated at sixteen categories during the 7th Vijay Awards and won six awards, the highest in this ceremony. [103] The awards were mostly from the favourite awards branch, which were: Favourite Film, Favourite Director (Murugadoss), Favourite Hero (Vijay), Favourite Heroine (Aggarwal) and Favourite Song (Google Google); [104] Vijay further received an Entertainer of the Year award also for his work in Nanban. [105] In addition, the film won an Ananda Vikatan Cinema Award, [106] [107] one CineMAA Award, [108] one Chennai Times Film Award [109] [110] and three Edison Awards. [111] [112]

Dubbed versions and remakes

Murugadoss remade the film in Hindi as Holiday: A Soldier Is Never Off Duty in 2014, [113] and Baba Yadav remade it in Bengali as Game the same year. [114] [115] Despite the Hindi remake, the film was dubbed and released in the same language as Indian Soldier: Never On Holiday by Goldmines Telefilms in 2015. [116]

Legacy

The success of Thuppakki led to more collaborations between Murugadoss and Vijay, namely Kaththi (2014) and Sarkar (2018). [117] The dialogue "I am waiting", spoken by Jagadish (Vijay) just before the interval, gained popularity and has since been used in the intervals of other Tamil films as well. These include Kaththi, [118] Theri (2016), [119] Velainu Vandhutta Vellaikaaran (2016), [120] Tamizh Padam 2 (2018), [121] Sarkar [122] and Master (2021). [123]

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