Por Thozil review: A taut investigative thriller from director Vignesh Raja

Sarath Kumar, Ashok Selvan, and Nikhila Vimal nail their performances. Music, cinematography, and editing are outstanding.

ByManigandan KR

Published:Aug 10, 2023

Por Thozhil
Keeps you on the edge of your seat!

Por Thozil (Tamil)

  • Cast: Sarath Kumar, Ashok Selvan, Nikhila Vimal, and late Sarath Babu
  • Direction: Vignesh Raja
  • Producers: Sameer Nair, Deepak Segal, Mukesh R Mehta, C V Sarathi, Poonam Mehra, and Sandeep Mehra
  • Music: Jakes Bejoy
  • Runtime: 2 hours 26 minutes

Director Vignesh Raja delivers a mind-blowing investigative drama — Por Thozil (The Art of War) — that keeps you on the edge of your seat, right from the time the film begins till the time it ends.

The narration is perfect and the attention to detail is exemplary. There are no unnecessary distractions and the story moves at a blistering pace right from the word go.

Writers Alfred Prakash and Vignesh Raja seem to have done extensive research into how cops track serial killers.

They seem to have put their heart and soul into the task of understanding not just the mindset of a serial killer but also the cops.  They tell a story that is both hard-hitting and realistic.

Before we analyse the film anymore, here is the synopsis:


Prakash (Ashok Selvan), a newly passed-out recruit from the police academy, is placed under the mentorship of the battle-hardened cop Loganathan (Sarath Kumar) who has neither the time nor the inclination to train newbies.

sarath kumar ashok selvan por thozil

Ashok Selvan and Sarath Kumar in ‘Por Thozil’. (Supplied)

A topper in the academy, Prakash believes in reading and researching a lot and going by the book. However, Loganathan trusts in the skill he acquired over a long and committed service on the field.

Initially, Prakash finds it hard to get along with the cynical and grim Loganathan, a cop who has had a tough childhood.

However, the two cops, who have two distinct styles of working, effectively learn to adjust with one another and team up to track a serial killer who takes immense pleasure in killing young women.

They are assisted by Veena (Nikhila Vimal), who has done her master’s in Massachusetts in the US. But she still chooses to work in India just for the sense of satisfaction she derives by knowing that her work makes a considerable difference in the lives of many here.

Together, the trio form a fantastic unit and get down to tracking one of the most daring and brutal serial killers ever. How they do it is what Por Thozhil is all about.

Also Read: ‘O Baby’ is an intense dark thriller that raises important questions

Exceptional writing

What makes Por Thozil really stand out is its fascinating writing.

Vignesh Raja Por Thozil

Ashok Selvan and Nikhila Vimal in Vignesh Raja’s ‘Por Thozil’. (Supplied)

There is no glorification of any character and at the same time, there is no putting down of any character as well.

A fine case in point would be the way Prakash prides himself on having won the award for best firing at the academy and how Loganathan puts him in his place instantly.

When Loganathan tries to give the impression that Prakash will be more of a burden than anything else to the investigation, the rookie cop stuns the senior investigator by using a thermometer to check the temperature of the brain of a murdered girl to find out the actual time of the murder.

The film is full of such interesting details and needless to say, it has your undivided attention.

There is not a single scene that can be termed unnecessary to the plot. Every scene is realistic and intense.

Also Read: Samuthirakani’s ‘Vimanam’ drifts off the runway

Outstanding performances

There are five significant characters in the film and all the five actors who play these characters nail it.

Top on the list is Sarath Kumar who just lives the part of Loganathan. Measured in his tone and acidic in his speech, Sarath Kumar looks menacing as the mean and tough cop who devotes his all to completing the task he has been entrusted with.

Ashok Selvan Nikhila Vimal Sarath Kumar in Por Thozil

Ashok Selvan, Nikhila Vimal, and Sarath Kumar in ‘Por Thozil’. (Supplied)

He cares little about being a team player and is only concerned about catching a killer who he knows will continue taking lives until he succeeds in nabbing him.

This is easily one of Sarath Kumar’s finest performances and it is a delight to watch the veteran star perform.

Equally impressive is actor Ashok Selvan who as Prakash overcomes his fear of blood and gore to make a difference when it matters the most.

Prakash’s determination to continue, despite being insulted and sidelined, makes you want him to succeed and you find yourself cheering for him when he provides crucial leads in the case. Ashok Selvan excels as Prakash and comes up with a fabulous performance.

Nikhila Vimal as Veena only makes an appearance occasionally. But she makes every scene she appears in the count. Soft-spoken but clear-headed, Veena is just a top-notch professional at work and Nikhila looks every bit the part.

Late actor Sarath Babu, too, played a significant role in the film. Unfortunately, revealing Sarath Babu’s role or the role of the fifth person could spoil the suspense element for viewers.

Therefore, I am not revealing anything more. Suffice it to say that Sarath Babu left us with yet another memorable and endearing performance.

Also Read: Scoop review: Hansal Mehta brings alive yet another real-life story

Brilliant technical support

Por Thozil also works big time because of its three core technical departments — music, cinematography and editing — delivering outstanding output.

Jakes Bejoy’s music is a significant factor in Por Thozil that cannot be ignored. His background score adds to the intensity of an already gripping plot and teleports you to the scene of action.

Cinematographer Kalaiselvan Sivaji has put a lot of thought into how each shot should be presented to the viewers. Some outstanding visuals, apt lighting and some exceptional aerial shots all make his contribution to the camera an immense one.

But the most important contribution of all must be that of the editors. Sreejith Sarang proves his mettle by keeping the story tight and intense. It is his editing that makes Por Thozhil what it is.

Final take

In all, Por Thozhil is an exciting, sharp, investigative thriller.

(Views expressed are personal.)