In recent times, Kollywood has produced two “Delicious” movies, Visaranai (2016) and Jai Bhim (2021) that highlighted the systematic flaws in the Indian Police system, which is unable to shrug off its colonial origins. Both the films galvanized the public imagination as well. Taanakkaran (டாணாக்காரன்) starring Vikram Prabhu wishes to join the lineup but falls short due to a narrow plot surface and a documentary feel. Available on Disney+ Hotstar, the film scores a Raw on the MangoIdiots scale.
In 1999, Arivu (Vikram Prabhu) is a new recruit to the Tamil Nadu State Police department and joins hundreds of others in the Police Recruit school (PRS). The PRS is run like a criminal gang by the vested interests comprising the school’s inspector Muthupandi (Madhusudhan Rao) and his assistant Eeswara Moorthy (Lal). The two are corrupt and inhumane. The story is about how Arivu leads a revolt against the two and still manages to clear the passing parade to join the police force.
Vikram Prabhu and many of the lead actors have done a good job. As a Police Constable who was victimized for decades by his higher officials, veteran M S Bhaskar has given a phenomenal performance. The plot covers a serious flaw in the police force that needs to be told, but Director Tamizh gets bogged down in the procedural details in the PRS and misses out on keeping the audience engaged. The screenplay was highly predictable, characters keep dying at regular intervals but we are not made to feel for them. The one-sided love by the female lead Eeshwari (Anjali Nair) towards Arivu was synthetic.
I wish Taanakkaran was better, but it was not!