With a premise (which has shades of Premium Rush) that could make many directors feel envious for not having thought of it first, Premsai gets the first thing right in Tamilselvanum Thaniyar Anjalum, his directorial debut. But, unfortunately, that is only of the few things he does well in this film, which displays a split personality — it is engrossing one moment and infuriating the next.
Tamilselvan (Jai), a BA History graduate, who works on menial jobs. But once he falls in love at first sight after seeing Kavya (Yami Gautam), he decides to become a courier boy, like his friend NASA (Santhanam). Meanwhile, Manikandan (Thambi Ramaiah), who works in a hospital, learns of a nefarious plot that involves doctors aborting pregnancies to extract stem cells for research, and couriers the details to a Sathyamoorthy, social activist (Nasser). The criminals find out about this and try to stop the courier before its content becomes known. And the one person standing in their way is Tamilselvan!
With a subject that can deliver edge-of-the-seat thrills, Premsai wastes almost the entire first half on a romantic track that should ideally have been a few minutes' set-up for the plot. Agreed, it provides the background for how Tamilselvan becomes a 'courier boy', but it takes what feels like eons for the actual plot to kick in. And bafflingly, the director also keeps throwing in songs (though the bouncy Maya Oh Maya, by singer Karthik who has also composed the songs in the film, is infectious) and comedy (how couldn't he, given that he has roped in Santhanam) that act as narrative speed breakers.
Still, once he gets down to the plot, for a few minutes in the second half, we get tense situations, like the one in Sathyamoorthy's flat, that keep us engrossed. And, even the science behind the crime feels plausible. However, the villains are woefully underwritten (even though Ashutosh Rana makes his evil doctor fearsome with his screen presence).
But most importantly, Premsai doesn't know what to do once the villains starts chasing Tamilselvan. He wants the second half to be one lengthy chase (on bikes, on foot), but doesn't build situations that could add to the tension. We even wonder if the written script just had a one-line description of the events happening in the final 40 minutes: Tamilselvan gets chased by the villains, he fights back, gets roughed up, but somehow manages to emerge triumphant. It seems as if it was left entirely to the stunt choreographer to conceive the action in this portion, but the problem is the stunts are staged ineffectively. They feel routine and are quite disjointed, and the scenes jump time frames, which is disorienting. For example, when the chase begins, it is daylight but a few minutes later, we see Tamilselvan still running and it is already night! Was he on the run for hours? What happened during this time? We never get those moments onscreen. It is always disappointing when something that should have been 'pretty good' settles for 'OK-ish'.