Thuppakki (lit. Gun) is a 2012 Indian Tamil-language action thriller film written and directed by AR Murugadoss. It features Vijay and Kajal Aggarwal in the lead roles, while Vidyut Jammwal portrays the main antagonist. Jayaram and Sathyan appear in supporting roles. The film, produced by S. Thanu, features background score and soundtrack composed by Harris Jayaraj with cinematography handled by Santosh Sivan and editing by A. Sreekar Prasad. The story revolves around an Indian Army officer from a Mumbai-based family on a mission to track down and destroy a terrorist group and deactivate the sleeper cells under its command, after witnessing and barely escaping a bomb blast executed by them.
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||AR Murugadoss|
|Produced by||S. Thanu|
|Written by||AR Murugadoss|
|Music by||Harris Jayaraj|
|Edited by||A. Sreekar Prasad|
|Distributed by||Gemini Film Circuit|
Thuppakki commenced production in January 2012 and was filmed mostly in Mumbai, except for some song sequences. It was released on 13 November 2012, coinciding with the festival of Diwali. Upon release, the film received positive reviews and became a major commercial success. It was also released in Telugu under the same title. Thuppakki went on to win six Vijay Awards from sixteen nominations, and was nominated for seven South Filmfare Awards, including Best Film (Tamil), Best Director (Tamil) and Best Actor (Tamil) for Vijay. Murugadoss remade the film in Hindi as Holiday: A Soldier Is Never Off Duty in 2014, while Baba Yadav remade it in Bengali as Game: He Plays To Win in that same year.
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 realises this and proposes to her. Nisha reciprocates after refusing him initially.
One day, while travelling around the city with his police officer-friend Balaji, Jagadish witnesses the explosion of a bus in which they 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 Islamic terrorist group Harkat-ul-Jihad al-Islami, 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 terrorists, including the previously captured sleeper agent.
When the leader of the terrorist group learns about the role of Jagdish in thwarting the terrorist 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 terrorists' hideout, rescuing his sister, who was about to be killed after Jagadish's bluff was exposed, and the other victims and eliminating the terrorists assembled there. Asif Ali, the second-in-command of the sleeper agents is captured and killed by Jagdish.
When the attack fails, the terrorist 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 terrorist 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 of Jagadish's friends. 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 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.
- Vijay as Jagadish Dhanapal
- Kajal Aggarwal as Nisha
- Sathyan as Balaji
- Vidyut Jammwal as the sleeper cell's unnamed leader
- Jayaram as V. Ravichandran
- Zakir Hussain as Kameeruddin
- Manobala as Nisha's father
- Anupama Kumar as Nisha's mother
- Deepthi Nambiar as Sanjana
- Meenakshi in a special appearance
- AR Murugadoss in a cameo appearance
- Santosh Sivan in a cameo appearance
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. Vijay's father S. A. Chandrasekhar was initially going to produce the film, but S. Thanu eventually took over, producing it under his banner V Creations. Although the film was initially titled Maalai Nerathu Mazhaithuli, in December 2011, the new title was revealed: Thuppakki. 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.
Though Kingfisher Calendar model Angela Jonsson took part in a brief photoshoot with Vijay by Sivan in Chennai, Kajal Aggarwal was eventually confirmed as the female lead, while Akshara Gowda was cast in a special appearance. Gautham Kurup was chosen to play a sleeper cell, while Vidyut Jammwal, who was simultaneously shooting for Billa II, would be playing the main antagonist. Sathyan confirmed his participation in the film in January 2012, and Malayalam actor Jayaram confirmed his presence the following month. In April 2012, Murugadoss confirmed that he himself would appear onscreen. That was eventually revealed to be a cameo in the song "Google Google", where Sivan also cameoed. Dubai-based Malayali orthodontist Prasanth Nair was also signed to play a small but important role, making it his acting debut in Tamil cinema. Other supporting roles were played by Zakir Hussain, Manobala, Raneesh, Meenakshi, Shankar Narayanan, Deepthi Nambiar, Anupama Kumar, newcomer MD Asif, Sanjana, Mangala Radhakrishnan and Supriya.
Principal photography was initially supposed to start on 26 November 2011, but the first schedule began in January 2012, and lasted for 35 days. At Linking Road in Bandra, Mumbai, 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. Sivan further told that a major part of the film was being shot in real locations with hidden cameras. He shot Thuppakki with an Arri Alexa camera, as opposed to traditional 35 mm film. 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".
In March, the unit completed a 10-day shoot in Bangkok for "Google Google", picturised on Vijay and Aggarwal. 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. 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. Another song, "Vennilave" was shot in Switzerland; since Sivan was unable to give dates, Natarajan "Natty" Subramaniam shot it instead. The song "Antarctica" was shot at DY Patil Stadium in Mumbai, with which principal photography wrapped. The budget of the film was estimated to be ₹700 million (equivalent to ₹990 million or US$14 million in 2018).
Harris Jayaraj composed the soundtrack of Thuppakki, collaborating with Murugadoss for the third time after Ghajini (2005) and 7aum Arivu (2011). 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. The party number "Google Google", a duet between Andrea Jeremiah and Vijay, marked the latter's return to playback singing after a seven-year sabbatical; his last song was "Vaadi Vaadi" from Sachein (2005). Though Harris Jayaraj had announced in August that Thuppakki's audio launch would take place in September, the audio was eventually released on 10 October 2012.
Thuppakki was released on 13 November 2012, coinciding with Diwali day. The film released in more than 1500 screens, becoming the widest release for a Vijay film at that time. Gemini Film Circuit distributed the original Tamil version. 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. ATMUS Entertainment distributed the film in North America, and BR Films International did so in France.
Upon release, an Islamic group protested against the film, claiming that it portrayed Muslims as terrorists and traitors. Murugadoss, S. Thanu and Vijay's father S. A. Chandrasekhar later tendered an open apology to representatives of 23 different Muslim outfits, and agreed to delete the scenes to which objections were raised, after activists had gathered near Vijay's residence at Neelankarai and raised slogans against him and the film in Arabic and Urdu.
Thuppakki's first look poster was leaked on the internet on 30 April 2012, a day prior to its scheduled release. 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.
In October 2012, another promotional poster, which depicted a police-uniform clad Vijay carrying Aggarwal on his hands was claimed 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. He however admitted to have 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".
The makers initially announced that the film's first trailer would be released on 22 June, during Vijay's birthday. However, the teaser release was postponed to 1 July, to avoid clashing with the theatrical release of Saguni. Filmmaker Ravi Devan later sued the makers of Thuppakki, claiming that the title was too similar to that of his film Kallathuppakki, which he registered in 2009; this lawsuit also prevented Thuppakki's makers from carrying out any promotional campaigns for the film. After Ravi Devan withdrew his case in early October, the first trailer was released in the same month.
Thuppakki received mostly positive reviews from critics. 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".. Deccan Chronicle rated it 3.5/5 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". IBNLive 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".
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". Sify's critic 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". 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". For the same newspaper, Karthik Subrmaniam 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." 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 cliched 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".
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". 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". 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". 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".
On the opening day, Thuppakki netted around ₹92.5 million (US$1.3 million) in Tamil Nadu box office alone. It collected a sum of ₹456 million (US$6.6 million) in Tamil Nadu, and ₹653.2 million (US$9.4 million) worldwide by its first week. In Chennai city alone, the film netted ₹48.3 million (US$700,000) in its first week with an average theatre occupancy of 99%. At the end of 13 days, it earned a distributor share of ₹46.0 million (US$670,000). It still stood in the number one position by the third week resulting in a total collection of ₹113.6 million (US$1.6 million). After a long run for eight weeks at the Chennai box office, the film netted ₹134 million (US$1.9 million), the second highest figure among Tamil films.
Ten days after the release, Thuppakki was released in 31 screens in Mumbai. It was bought for a record price in Karnataka by a leading distributor, and opened well at the box office there. Thuppakki was released in 126 screens in Kerala and collected ₹40 million (US$580,000) in two days with a distributor share of ₹20 million (US$290,000), which is a record for any Tamil release. Many of the centres witnessed police charging before the shows and were forced to go for a fifth show on the first day which resulted in almost 600 shows in a single day: a record number of screenings for any film in the state. The film reached the ₹1 billion (US$14 million) mark in 11 days of its release. The film's total domestic box office collections at the end of its run stood at ₹1.8 billion according to distributors Eros International. Writing for International Business Times, Prakash Upadhyaya estimated its final earnings to be ₹1.25 billion.
In the UK and Ireland, Thuppakki grossed ₹ 1.85 crore after the fourth weekend. In Australia, Thuppakki 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. The film continued to do good business at the international box office in its second week. In Malaysia, it grossed $1,732,792 as of December 2012.
|Award||Date of ceremony[a]||Category||Nominee(s)||Result||Ref.|
|Ananda Vikatan Cinema Awards||16 January 2013||Best Actor (shared with Nanban)||Vijay||Won|||
|The Chennai Times Film Awards||4 November 2013||Best Film||Thuppakki||Won|||
|Best Director||A. R. Murugadoss||Nominated|
|Best Actor in a Negative Role||Vidyut Jamwal||Nominated|
|Best Screenplay||A. R. Murugadoss||Nominated|
|CineMAA Awards||16 June 2013||Best Actor — Female (Tamil)||Kajal Aggarwal||Won|||
|4th Edison Awards||10 February 2013||Best Director||A.R. Murugadoss||Nominated|||
|Best Music Director||Harris Jayaraj||Nominated|
|Best DOP||Santosh Sivan||Nominated|
|Best Editor||Sreekar Prasad||Won|
|Best Producer||Kalaipuli S. Dhanu||Won|
|Best Villain||Vidyut Jamwal||Nominated|
|Best Lyricist||Madhan Karky (Google Google)||Won|
|Best Screenplay||A.R. Murugadoss||Nominated|
|Best Choreographer||Shobi (Antartica)||Nominated|
|Best Female Playback Singer||Andrea Jeremiah (Google Google)||Nominated|
|Best Character Role Female||Deepthi||Nominated|
|Filmfare Awards South||20 July 2013||Best Film – Tamil||Thuppakki||Nominated|||
|Best Director – Tamil||A. R. Murugadoss||Nominated|
|Best Actor – Tamil||Vijay||Nominated|
|Best Supporting Actor – Tamil||Vidyut Jamwal||Nominated|
|Best Music Director – Tamil||Harris Jayaraj||Nominated|
|Best Lyricist – Tamil||Madhan Karky (Google Google)||Nominated|
|Best Female Playback Singer – Tamil||Andrea Jeremiah (Google Google)||Nominated|
|South Indian International Movie Awards||12–13 September 2013||Best Film||S. Thanu||Nominated|||
|Best Director||AR Murugadoss||Nominated|
|Best Actress (Critics)||Kajal Aggarwal||Won|
|Best Actor in a Negative Role||Vidyut Jamwal||Won|
|Best Male Playback Singer||Vijay||Nominated|
|Best Music Director||Harris Jayaraj||Won|
|Best Dance Choreographer||Shobhi||Nominated|
|Best Fight Choreographer||Kecha||Won|
|Vijay Awards||11 May 2013||Entertainer of the Year||Vijay||Won|||
|Favourite Director||AR Murugadoss||Won|
|Favourite Heroine||Kajal Aggarwal||Won|
|Favourite Song||Google Google||Won|
|Best Director||A R Murugadoss||Nominated|
|Best Actress||Kajal Aggarwal||Nominated|
|Best Villain||Vidyut Jamwal||Nominated|
|Best Editor||A. Sreekar Prasad||Nominated|
|Best Art Director||Sunil Babu||Nominated|
|Best Choreographer||Shobi (Antartica)||Nominated|
|Best Choreographer||Sridar (Alaikka Laikka)||Nominated|
|Best Stunt Director||Kechcha||Nominated|
Dubbed versions and remakesEdit
Murugadoss remade the film in Hindi as Holiday: A Soldier Is Never Off Duty in 2014. Baba Yadav remade it in Bengali as Game: He Plays To Win the same year. Despite having a Hindi remake, the film was later dubbed into the same language as Indian Soldier: Never On Holiday by Goldmines Telefilms in 2015.
- Date is linked to the article about the awards held that year, wherever possible.
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