Thani Oruvan, Dhruva, and One: An Indian Police Service Officer wants to arrest an affluent scientist who uses secret illegal medical practices for profit like for example using untested drugs on newborns. Will he be able to defeat the drug mafia?
THANI ORUVAN (2015)
Thani Oruvan is a 2015 Indian Tamil-language (Kollywood) action/thriller musical film. The film was written by Raja, Suresh, and Balakrishnan, and directed by Mohan Raja. Kalpathi S. Aghoram, S. Ganesh, and S. Suresh produced the film under the studio AGS Entertainment.
The film stars Jayam Ravi, Arvind Swamy, and Nayanthara with supporting roles from Ganesh Venkataraman, Harish Uthaman, Nassar, Thambi Ramaiah, Mugdha Godse. The title means “The Sole One”. The film was remade in Telugu as Dhruva (2016), and in Bengali as One (2017).
WHERE TO WATCH
ABOUT THE STORY
In the next section, I will share with you how I understood the film with subtitles. Yes, there are going to be major spoilers but I think it’s important to share this perspective because sometimes things can get lost in translation or cultural differences may have an impact on how one interprets the story.
I think it’s unfair when this happens with critics that are very quick to judge. Especially with foreign cinema, audiences tend to rely on critics and influencers that sometimes have their own biases or even have no idea about what they are reviewing.
Eventually, I think it’s better to watch it and make your own assessment. Sometimes rewatching is necessary. Afterward, it’s fun to compare with these “critics and influencers” and see how much they got wrong. There is always something to note. Now, let’s get into the story…
The story starts with a flashback. A low-class politician’s wife is going into labor. Accidentally, Tamizhvanan comes to the area of Sengalvarayan’s house and lends his car to take Sengalvarayan’s wife to the labor ward, but the delivery happens safely inside the car.
A few years later we see Sengalvarayan’s son Pazhani visiting and his father visiting Tamizhvanan who is now the chairman of the party. An incident occurs and Tamizhvanan accidentally kills a rebel at the party. Pazhani takes the blame in exchange for his father getting a seat in the government to elevate their status. He resents his father for being born poor.
Back at present trainee IPS officers Mithran, Shakthi, Suraj, Kathiresan, and Janardhan discreetly assist the police in catching a gang that kidnapped four girls. Later on, Mithran receives a text message on his phone from an anonymous number stating that they are aware of their discreet activities. In the evening, they go out to meet that person who happens to be Mahima, a forensic pathologist and someone who declared her love to Mithran but he rejected her.
That same night, they witness the attack and murder of a man named Ramar, who is a social activist. Mithran and his friend catch the gang and their leader. They hand them over to the police but days later, the leader of the gang comes to the IPS headquarters with the Home minister. Mithran and his friends are shocked by the corruption and organized crime in the government.
CONNECTING THE DOTS
Mahima indicated that Mithran knows more than he showing. Mithran then takes them to his house and shows his research on connecting all small unrelated incidents into the global view of a hidden crime network, who bend the law for their own financial benefits.
He uses a combination of traditional investigation techniques and high tech to make his research. He singles out three influential persons: pharmaceutical mogul Ashok Pandian, mineral magnate Charles Chelladurai and chieftain Perumal Swamy.
Later on, after some investigation, he realizes that all three of them work as a group, and they all work for a wealthy and influential scientist Siddharth Abhimanyu. After the completion of his training, Mithran is awarded medals for specializing in dealing with organized crime during training and also for being the best probationer of the batch and is posted as the ASP of the Organized Crime Unit. During the ceremony, Siddharth Abhimanyu awards him with a symbolic pistol.
Mithran sets up an official team as the new ASP. Mithran discovers that Siddharth is Sengalvarayan’s son Pazhani. After his release from prison, Pazhani had his name changed and left India to complete his education abroad. After his graduation, he returned to India and is now a well-established scientist.
Siddharth uses the medical field for his personal benefit. He conducts illegal experiments, such as performing testing on infants, to get the results he wants and doesn’t care about the victims. Sengalvarayan is now the incumbent Health Minister in the minority government headed by Tamizhvanan, who is now the Chief Minister.
UNCOVERING THE CRIMES
At that time, Angelina, a blond Swiss pharmaceutical company owner and activist, tries to make generic medicines for life-threatening diseases available in India at low cost and affordable to poor people. Mithran and his team try to protect her, but Siddharth’s assassin kills Angelina before she can sign the agreement document with the government and shoots Mithran at the same time.
While Mithran is recovering from the gunshot wound in the hospital, the doctor finds a blood clot that needs to be taken care of with surgery. An electronic bug with GPS plus audio transmitter is implanted during surgery by Siddharth’s instructions. Through the bug, Siddharth listens to Mithran’s plans and continuously monitors his whereabouts and conversations via audio transmission. Then comes evidence against Siddharth in the form of Manimekalai.
Manimekalai was a scientist at Siddharth’s research lab, where a seaweed that can cure diabetes is found abundantly in the oceans. Siddharth tries to sell the technology and rights to extract medicine from the seaweed to multinational pharmaceutical companies but is opposed by Manimekalai. So, Siddharth hires goons and kills her. But before being killed, she records a video and stores it in an SD card for someone to find it.
Before Mithran can find the SD card, Siddharth finds out and assigns Vicky, Perumal Swamy’s brother, to recover the card, but Mithran tells Jana to get the card. He successfully gets the card after a fight with Vicky, but Siddharth kills Jana. Mithran comes back to his special house where he finds a pin that has been changed on a picture which turns out to be the picture of Ananya, who was Miss World 2011 and a close acquaintance of Siddharth whose girlfriend Shilpa was also part of that event.
Mithran doubts whether Siddharth himself would have come to his house. Mahima checks the fingerprints on the pin keeping the gun case Mithran received from Siddharth in his posting/graduation ceremony, and the fingerprints match.
We see a scene where both face each other, and Siddharth later disappears. A flashback reveals that Siddharth killed Shilpa’s father so that she would not participate in the competition, and as she will not have a ticket to go to her father’s funeral, he offers to take her on his chartered flight and wins her over.
FINDING THE PIECES
Mithran gets a bug finder and frantically searches for the bug destroying almost everything in his apartment, Mahima comes and tries to make Mithran realize that he is not alone and that he needs to get himself together. He chose his enemy to test his capacity but is now obsessed with him and losing himself.
While targeting his enemy he became the target. Mithran gets angry and tells her to leave. She tells him that he has changed. He needs to be the calm person he was before otherwise, he will lose everyone with this attitude. She loves him and wants to marry him but most importantly she wants him to win.
After their discussion, Mithran calls Mahima to come to see him at his place. He has the intention to propose but finds the bug and realizes that she is in danger too. They manage to share their feelings in silence because of the bug which he later removes. Mithran captures Vicky and records all the information from him.
He drugs Vicky and manipulates Siddharth into killing him. At the same time, Siddharth’s father reads the changed medical report, which contains very good medical contracts for public welfare and multiple accusations against Tamizhvanan. When Siddharth learns about this, he asks Sengalvarayan to pretend to have chest pains and move outside to the hospital.
The ruling party forces Sengalvarayan either to resign within 24 hours or he will be dismissed. Mithran appeals to Tamizhvanan that he has evidence that he found in a wooden stick left by Jana before he died, and wants to arrest Siddharth, and he is granted permission to do so.
Hence Siddharth kills Sengalvarayan using his goons in an accident and forces Tamizhvanan to stop actions against him, or he will lie that Tamizhvanan killed his father for a personal vendetta. However, the next day at Sengalvarayan’s state funeral, Mithran arrests him on Tamizhvanan’s orders.
When Siddharth is arrested, Mithran tells him that the medicine was patented in Manimekalai’s name (despite Siddharth being the inventor) and will be made as generic medicine instead of a patent-protected one. It is also revealed that Sengalvarayan is still alive, saved by Mithran and his gang and the public funeral held was for Jana.
Mithran makes a deal that he would save Siddharth’s life for information and evidence on all of his criminal associates and activities and gives him a bulletproof vest to fake his death during his transport to the court.
They also plan to take down the setup planned by various VIPs to kill Siddharth when one of them gets close to Siddharth, Mithran pushes him and learns that Siddharth did not wear the vest and gets shot by Shilpa.
Before dying, Siddharth tells Mithran that he hid all the evidence in an SD card in the bulletproof vest, adding that he had not done it for the nation but because Mithran had asked for it. Siddharth thought he was a worthy enemy. Siddharth’s accomplices are arrested, and the film ends with the marriage of Mahima and Mithran.
The story starts with a flashback shown with colored filtering and the current time is shown in real colors. Before giving himself the blame, the boy looked scared. The initial credits show the growth of the boy to a man in newspaper graphics that I can’t understand. Despite that, I was thoroughly entertained. Good and evil fight against each other at equal strength, each side showing the power of one.
It is great to see these portrayals of stand-up men with morals and values going against bad people. And the theme is way too close to home. In the film, many newborns died as a result of an untested drug that was facilitated due to corruption in the government and subsequently the healthcare system. The film clearly addresses a drug mafia consisting of scientists, politicians, lawyers, etc., that has power over the pharmaceutical industry and the healthcare system.
My Rating: 8/10
Dhruva is a 2016 Indian Telugu-language (Tollywood) film. It was directed by Surender Reddy and produced by Allu Aravind under his banner Geetha Arts. The film stars Ram Charan as the protagonist who did rigorous training to perform the role, along with Aravind Swamy who plays the same character from the original film, Rakul Preet Singh, and Navdeep in leading roles.
The film features music composed by Hiphop Tamizha, the cinematography was handled by P. S. Vinod and edited by Navin Nooli respectively. In July 2017, a Hindi dubbed version was released by M/S Mantra India Digital Creations LLP, with Ajay Devgn providing voiceover for Ram Charan and Arbaaz Khan for Arvind Swamy respectively.
WHERE TO WATCH
ABOUT THE STORY
The plot is similar to Tani Urivan but there are a few significant changes. In the beginning, the past is shown in color but there is a description of the place with text in a modern style. The text descript is used throughout the movie the describe the name of the location and show the dates. The boy this time is fearless when deciding to give himself up and make sure his father gets a good position in the party to elevate their status.
The protagonist’s name is Dhruva along with his friends, Gautham, Ranveer, and Karan. Dhruva’s love interest is still a forensic pathologist this time named Ishika. Dhruva meets Ishita on a bus different than a train in the original film. The bad guy is played by the same actor in the original with the same name.
The film shows MLK’s speech of “I have a dream”. Then Dhruva tells his friend to not wait for change but be the change. And they are happy seeing the results of their night activities.
The songs a differently presented. For the ladies, there is a song where Dhruva is showing off his extremely good shape during training sessions at the academy. The songs with Ishika are ok but I prefer the songs in the original. There even though they were not a couple, the songs portrayed their true feelings with a more mature relationship. The girl was trying to get his attention, but she didn’t appear childish. Ishika sometimes is annoying. Dhruva doesn’t show any interest in her.
The way Dhruva discovers Siddharth for the first time is also different. His girlfriend is not with him but is at their home. Angelina this time is a brunette speaking the local language. The evidence, the SD card, that gets Siddharth arrested is hidden inside a watch instead of a wooden stick.
The theme ” My enemy is my strength” and the Number eight are significant in the film. Dhruva uses seven ways to destroy Siddharth with the attack of the eight factions: fame, brains, emotion, bravehood, power, money, morality, and death. He leaves the last one in the hands of god. He doesn’t need to kill him as Siddharth has enough enemies and accumulated karma. The ending of Siddhart is the same as the original.
The film ends with a sequence showing Dhruva entering his gym reflecting on the day he saw the news when a 16-year-old was taken in handcuffs many years ago. Back then he wondered why and how? Since that child was in the news Dhruva started to analyze the news.
Seeing everything that was happening around him he wondered whether he should keep his mouth shut or should he take his fingers from his lips to try and solve the problem himself. That same question he asks himself in the present and he is the answer. A morally driven good man that tries to do the right thing, even when it goes against the system.
Lastly, we see a dedication to law enforcement:
“Dedicated to all the superheroes who put their lives on the line so that we can live our lives in peace. Saluting every police officer.” With love. – Surender Reddy-
The film is presented in a more glamorous way with extremely good-looking people. Adding the description of time and places was good for me. Making the love interest a less mature character was not that great and I did not understand adding her friend to certain scenes. On the bus, I can understand her being there and adding comedic relief but she had no added value in other scenes. I have seen her in other films, and it looks like a waste of her talent.
Dhruva believed in the message of MLK Jr. and it’s important to understand that even today everyone says they believe in the “I have a Dream” speech and support it. It’s not the truth. At the time MLK was maligned by the media and other parties for his beliefs. If he was still alive the character assignation should have continued and his speech would have been burned.
Unlike Malcolm X, he did not understand that he was going against a powerful system that wanted to keep the status quo and that was what eventually got him killed. Like Dhruva and his friends, there are good police officers that unlike them don’t have the resources to get things done on their own or don’t have the courage to do what they did.
In real life, it is more complicated and even if some officer stands up, he will be immediately get pushed by his own system and the media. If there was a bond between the community and the officer, they would stand up for him, but the system made sure to remove that link between the community and law enforcement. In some countries, the corruptions go so high law enforcement work for the corporations that sponsor them and not the people they have sworn to protect.
Overall, some of the changes were an improvement, others not so much.
My Rating: 7.5/10
One is a 2017 Indian Bengali language film (Bengali Cinema) directed by Birsa Dasgupta and produced by Shree Venkatesh Films. The film stars Yash Dasgupta as the main protagonist, with Nusrat Jahan and Prosenjit Chatterjee in the lead roles.
WHERE TO WATCH
ABOUT THE STORY
The film is “beat by beat” the same as Thani Oruvan. The going-into-labor and murder incidents are the same. The overall plot is the same. The protagonist is called Ronojoy. This time he seems to be into Megha but tries to keep his distance.
Aditya Sen is the cunning and prodigious scientist in this story. He owns and runs a pharmaceutical empire. Same as in the original, Ronojoy is suspicious of Aditya, for several seemingly unconnected criminal events, for which he secretly carries out an unofficial investigation.
When Aditya becomes suspicious of his intentions, and murders Ronojoy’s friend Abhijeet, an honest policeman whose character is assassinated by the media.Later Ronojoy finds that Aditya planted a bug inside him and is able to hear all his plans.
Ronojoy later collected all the pieces of evidence against Aditya and completely shattered him. At last, it is shown, same as in the original movie, that Aditya died because of a gunshot from his own girlfriend and handed over to Ronojoy all the secret information against the ministers which would be helpful as evidence/proof in the future.
The story of One is the same as the original film, yet it seems different, less impactful. The intro is done in a cartoon style and is very different from the previous films, which is good.
I think the villain was good as well but overall, the quality of the performances is not quite the same as the original. And there are little details like the lead not having a mustache in the songs while having one all throughout the film.
Regarding law enforcement, it is great to have an example of an upstanding officer who makes you realize that someone like him would be villainized by the media in a corrupted system. Law enforcement needs reform but getting rid of them is not the solution. Despite them having a bad name, the first number people will call during an accident, altercation or difficult situation is the police.
Being the man with morals and values in a corrupted system doesn’t make you the hero in the media but the target of character assassination. It’s difficult to keep standing in that environment but some do and become the heroes of the people in countries where the people are not easily blinded by media distractions and pay attention to the real issues.
Something that has become difficult for people to do with the influence of social media in their lives and the greater influence of the mainstream media on those platforms. As Malcolm X once said:
“The media is the most powerful entity on earth. They have the power to make the innocent guilty and to make the guilty innocent, and that’s power. Because they control the minds of the masses.
The press is so powerful in its image-making role, it can make the criminal look like he’s the victim and make the victim look like he’s the criminal. This is the press, an irresponsible press.
It will make the criminal look like he’s the victim and make the victim look like he’s the criminal. If you aren’t careful, the newspapers will have you hating the people who are being oppressed and loving the people who are doing the oppressing.”
Today the presence of real independent media, reporting things as they are and giving a counter-narrative to the influenced and corrupted mainstream is important for a healthy society and important for the heroes who defend their people from immoral and corrupted entities.
My Rating: 6.5/10
GIVING THEM A CHANCE
It was not difficult really to be curious about these films. Especially when the premise is too close to reality. The use of science for personal gain like the use of gain of function research to generate profit without taking the proper time and measures to analyze and understand the benefits and complications of the product.
The villain needs to be a little bit older to make it extremely obvious who we are refereeing to here. And Angelina is a representation of the low-cost effective drugs such as ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine that have been vilified by the government and the media as completely ineffective when used as a covid treatment.
The fight between good and evil will always exist. It depends on how strong both sides are to determine the winner of each battle. The willpower of one man can achieve the unthinkable on either side.
One thing for me that was significant was seeing the family of the victims left behind. It was hard to watch the widow on the hospital bed say why she should continue to live when she knows that no justice will be served. I believe that is one one the drivers for the lead and his close friends to continue doing what they do.
I like the handling of the final act in all three. It makes it aspirational to want the bad buys in high places to receive the punishment they deserve. If not by the system, then by their accumulated karma.
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