Pothanur Thabal Nilayam is a heist film at its core. Director Praveen adds a period setting to the tale, narrates it in the 90s and also changes the location of the crime from a bank to a post office. These two attempts of the filmmaker are majorly successful as the film looks convincingly retro and he knows his stuff when it comes to the protocols surrounding a post office. But these merits look insignificant in comparison with the numerous hiccups in the film.
Praveen treats the film like an uninventive drama from the 80s, by topping it with cartoonish performances, overlong shots and a jarring background score. The overenthusiastic hero’s friend, the thumbsucking bank manager or the gossiping peon, all the supposed comical characters fall flat on their face at their incessant attempts at humour.
Thinking about the logical loopholes in the film opens a new pandora box. Praveen, the character, decides to take a daring step that would put him under the bars and even roams around with a gun. But the trigger is something as trivial as a bank loan that got delayed by a day. Yes, you heard that right. The uncountable coincidences in the screenplay also do their fair share of damage to the film. Praveen’s guessing game to find the lost money invariably leads him to the right person at the right time. I understand that the film is set in 1990 when the present-day technologies to solve crimes were non-existent. But I couldn’t wrap my head around how the crimes in the film have zero eyewitnesses.
The film ends with a tease for a second instalment, where we are introduced to a silhouette of a cop (in KGF Adheera style) determined to catch the real thief and a couple of other unexpected turns of events. Rather than these threads, I am more invested in seeing more of the honest, selfless Venkat Raman, who willingly does the household work as a man in the 80s, one who wishes only the best for his children and agrees to do a major sacrifice for the system he believes in.
Review by Navein-Darshan