There have been plenty of heist movies over the years from many different studios, but every now and then one comes along that adds an interesting twist on the old familiar theme.
Such a film is the 2015 Rajathandhiram ("Diplomacy"), a Tamil take on the art of the con, confidence schemes, and the karmic idea that what goes around comes around. In his directorial debut, writer A. G. Amid manages to creatively weave together disparate storylines to create an entertaining and thrilling narrative that keeps your attention through to the final frame.
Partners in crime Austin "Kullan" D'Costa (Darbuka Siva), Arjun Parthiban (Veera Bahu) and Devaraaj "Deva" Sarathy (Ajai Prasath) are small-time con artists. While they completely trust and are faithful to each other while on a job, they are natural-born hustlers and they often lie, cheat and steal from each other in everyday life. But, after all, boys will be boys.
They work closely with Sethu "Iyer" Madhavan (Ilavarasu) who helps provide them with counterfeit IDs, resources and petty crime opportunities. While Arjun, Deva and Kullan are good at the work they do, they barely make enough to pay the rent for the room they share.
Their lives get a little more complicated when Arjun, the brains and leader of the threesome, meets Michelle D'Mello (Regina Cassandra) a "Winway" distributor (think "Amway"). As she tries to get Arjun involved with "a golden opportunity" through her distribution network in order to increase her profits, their friendship grows.
Enter Dharmaji (Aadukalam Naren), a man just released from jail after serving time for bank fraud. Dharma and Iyer try to get the three grifters involved in a big heist from Sathyaa Jewels in Anna Nagar, owned by the rich and powerful Kanchi Azhagappan (Pattiyal K. Shekar). Offered the biggest job of their lives, they refuse.
However, a failed heist sets off a chain of events that causes them to rethink their decision. They decide to do the job.
You never see the plans for the big job by this small team, but it doesn't matter because you are too focused on what each character is doing at any given moment. Given all the challenges placed in their path, you are sure that this team will somehow fail.
After all, they're just small-time con artists, right?
The film engages the audience through partial reveals and misdirection - essentially leading the audience to conclusions which are soon challenged. Scenes of betrayal are thrown into the story, creating an obstacle course of character motivations. Those you thought you could trust fall prey to suspicion.
Putting the thrill back into thriller, Rajathandhiram is a film you'll want to add to your watchlist.
The following playlist features the trailer for Rajathandhiram, which includes some interesting scenes not used in the final cut. The film was such a big hit, cast and crew have come together for Rajathandhiram 2. Writer/director A. G. Amid released the first six minutes from the film on March 14, also included in the playlist below.
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