Thoongavanam is a fantastic remake of the French Film – Nuit Blanche. It’s an Action Thriller that is incredibly terse and keeps you on the edge of your seat throughout the film. Kamal Hassan has produced, acted and written the screenplay for the film. Given the amount of involvement Kamal Hassan has in the movie, quite naturally, his character takes the centre stage. I suppose that is the only main point of difference between the original and the remake. Tomer Sisley’s role (in Nuit Blanche) is a little less “all about him” as compared to Kamal’s. The credibility of the “undercover detective” was questionable because that’s not how things work in India. That said, the movie is a great watch and has no songs that disturb you through the length of the film. People who might be worried about the presence of the one song, relax, that happens in the closing credits and is not some “club song” cutting into the plot. Here’s Thoongavanam Explained.
The story primarily happens in one night and at a club called Insomnia. Trisha looks quite trim and fits the role of the rookie cop quite well. Prakash Raj playing the owner of the club has done a great job as the bad guy in his classic badguy style. The movie that seems to be about a drug deal gone badly initially, reveals more plot and twists in the various characters as the story unfolds. There are four groups that are going at each other in a nightclub – the cops, the club owner & gang, the drug gang and Kamal and his son. Kamal (Diwakar) is a cop who is caught in the thick of things in the drug deal.
Given that it is a film in the action genre, you wouldn’t expect much development of characters. While that is true, you are given enough of a background on the general relationship between Diwakar, his kid and his divorced wife. This is more than you need to watch and enjoy this film. Thankfully they didn’t stretch on that more. Thoongavanam definitely does not come under the mindless action category of films. There are a lot of characters that come together to structure the plot. Every actor plays his or her part quite convincingly, even the ones who have a tiny role. There are moments of humour that keep things light when required. Go have a watch in the big screen for sure.
Plot Explanation (spoilers)
Diwakar (Kamal) is a cop undercover who is trying to expose a higher up official who is involved in the drug business. He is shown to be a dirty cop who supplied by the underworld drug mafia. The movie begins with Diwakar and Mani hitting a drug loaded car with two guys to steal the coke. Mani shoots one of the guys with the coke and the other one escapes.
Diwakar and Mani make away with the coke. Diwakar and Mani head to the crime spot to recover evidence that might trace back to them. They see Mallika (Trisha), a rookie cop and Dhiraviyam (Kishore), a senior cop coming the area. Diwakar receives a call from his missing son but turns out to be Vital Rao (Prakash Raj), who is the club owner and the person to whom the drugs were being delivered to. Vital Rao informs Diwakar that his son has been kidnapped and the exchange would be for the drugs.
Diwakar takes the drugs and makes for the club. He hides them in the false ceiling of the men’s restroom. Mallika spots Diwakar, follows him into the club and locates the drug bag and moves it to the ladies’ restroom, in the false ceiling. Mallika then calls her superior – Dhiraviyam.
Dhiraviyam is the higher up official who is corrupt. He is shown to be in alliance with Mani. This is the guy that Diwakar wants to expose. Nobody really knows that Dhiraviyam is corrupt except for Mani. Dhiraviyam then takes the drugs out of the ladies’ restroom and puts it in his car without anyone knowing.
Diwakar takes one packet of the coke to Vital Rao and ensures that his son is alright. When he goes to get the remaining drugs, he obviously notices that it’s gone and calls Mani for help. He is then confronted by Mallika and Dhiraviyam. Diwaker gives them the slip by dancing through the crowd. In the meanwhile Diwakar heads to the kitchen and gets a staff to help him prepare a bag of flour packed to look like the coke. Diwakar takes this to Vital Rao and sees that Pedha Babu (Sampath Raj), the drug gang, is there to pick it up. Diwakar messes up the zip on the bag to help him gain some time. He uses this time to get the drug gang to leave the building saying that there were two other cops in the club. The drug gang get to their car to realize that the coke was actually flour. Diwakar runs into Esther (Madhu Shalini), a nurse who’s being bothered by a guy. Diwakar helps her and takes her as a cover to navigate through the crowd. He gets to his son and begins to leave. Before he can get away, Vital Rao informs his guy that the drugs were fake and Diwakar loses his son in the crowd who gets captured by Vital’s guy again.
Esther helps patch Diwakar up and he leaves her. He heads to the bar where he sees the barmaid (Uma Riyaz Khan) take a glass of soya milk (his son’s preference) and nuts to a door. She uses a knock sequence on the door which then opens. A hand is shown taking the milk and nuts in. Diwakar then encounters Mallika, singles her and beats her up to get the location of the drug bag (I swear I thought they would not show Kamal beat up Trisha, but they do and was effective and required for the plot). This is where he informs for the first time that he’s undercover and is trying to bring down the senior corrupt official. He then goes up against Dhiraviyam (unknowing he’s dirty) who starts up a brutal fight in the kitchen. Diwakar overpowers Dhiraviyam. He gets a call from a number, which happens to be his son. Unknowing that this was a bait, Diwakar lets his son, and hence Vital Rao’s men, know of his location. Vital Rao’s men track him down but Diwakar makes out of the club where he meets Mani.
The two of them head to the back where they encounter Pedha Babu gang member who shoots Mani and gets shot by Diwakar. Dhiraviyam gains consciousness and calls Mani to leave him a message. Diwakar hears this message to realize that Dhiraviyam is the corrupt senior official. Diwakar uses Pedha Babu’s shot guy to get Pedha Babu out, grabs him as hostage and takes him back to Vital Rao to negotiate for his son. Vital Rao ends up killing Pedha Babu because of an altercation between the two. Diwakar gets knocked out. When he comes to, Vital Rao gets him to give the location of the drug bag and they head to the ladies’ restroom.
Obviously there is no drug bag in the restroom, Diwakar knocks Vital Rao out and uses the vent to get himself out. He makes his way to Mallika and unknowing to her drops Mani’s phone in her pocket. He heads to the bar area and uses the same knock sequence on the door which opens. Diwakar beats up the guy and shoots him in the leg and reunites with his son. He uses the cuffs on his son so that they don’t separate like the previous time and heads out. The barmaid tried to stop him, he fires a warning shot and finally shoots her in the leg and escapes. He finds Dhiraviyam’s car and gets in to leave but is stopped by Vital Rao and his henchman. Vital Rao gets the drug back out of the car boot.
Pedha Babu’s guy shows up kills Vital Rao’s guy and wants to take the drugs for himself. Mallika and Dhiraviyam show up and shoot Pedha Babu’s guy. In this confusion Diwakar makes a drive away with his son. Dhiraviyam and Mallika arrest Vital Rao start driving out.
Diwakar makes a call to Mani’s phone (which is in Mallika’s pocket). Mallika picks up, Diwakar tells her to have a look at the calls on the phone. What is not shown is the nature of evidence on the phone that incarcerates Dhiraviyam. We can assume them to be a series of texts or pics perhaps but is clear that Mani and Dhiraviyam are connected. Mallika looks to Dhiraviyam while she calls him from Mani’s phone. Knowing that he’s caught, Dhiraviyam pulls a gun on the driver. Vital Rao attacks Dhiraviyam, the gun fires off shooting Mallika in the back. Dhiraviyam manages to shoot and kill Vital Rao. Shoots the driver from Vital Rao’s position, shoves the gun into Vital Rao’s hands and buckles up for the inevitable accident. He makes it look like a shootout that Vital Rao caused. Dhiraviyam even tells this to the cop at the scene of their accident. Mallika, however, is shown to be alive. Dhiraviyam realizes he’s done for as Mallika shows him the phone.
Diwakar drops his son home but becomes unconscious due to all of his wounds. His son returns to drive him to a hospital and the film comes to a close. This is where the French film ends. Thoongavanam goes further to show how Diwakar and Mallika are now partners. Then there is the credit song which has characters from the film having fun and dancing in and out of character.
Here’s more on Nuit Blanche, the original French film: