'Tamilrockerz' review: A great opportunity frittered (2024)


At a time when gripping documentaries and shows on true crimes are the order of the day, Tamilrockerz needed to be tight and gripping.

'Tamilrockerz' review: A great opportunity frittered (1)

Poster of Tamilrockerz .(Photo | Twitter)

Over the past decade, the infamous piracy group, Tamilrockers, has been a subject of much discussion. Pirated versions of films weren’t just being made available on the date of release; sometimes, they were available even ahead of release. The piracy group continues to be active and has been a big problem for the film fraternity for nearly a decade now. The arrival of OTT platforms helped somewhat, and it’s interesting that it’s on one such streaming platforms that a web series based on the group is out now.

Undoubtedly, SonyLIV’s Tamilrockerz has an exciting idea that screams potential. We see glimpses of the group leader, the modus operandi... But sadly, director Arivazhagan doesn’t give us enough for an eight-episode series. First things first—this SonyLIV series is heavily fictionalised, and it all begins when a superstar’s highly ambitious film gears up for release a week later. The notorious piracy group launches an open threat that it would have the film released on its site a day ahead of its release. It’s all then about how cops and cyber-forensic experts try to prevent this from happening.

At a time when gripping documentaries and shows on true crimes are the order of the day, Tamilrockerz needed to be tight and gripping. However, what we get is a bland series that subscribes to a predictable template. There’s a grieving hero, his dead wife (read first heroine), his smart new colleague (read second heroine), a villain gang, guns, bombs, human trafficking... Wait, wasn’t this supposed to be about pirated films?

Arun Vijay’s ACP Rudra is a brooding cop who resorts to extra-judicial killings as he sulks over his wife’s death. Thanks to long-format storytelling, there’s no heroic entry or intro song here. Also, this format allows for the exploration of multiple tracks that are interconnected. And yet, the makers don’t seem to make the best use of the format. The first few episodes portray flashes of Rudra’s memories haunting him. More than establishing his character, it serves to distract and hamper the pace. We then get a caricaturish portrayal of a young superstar and his overbearing dad—which seems like Arivazhagan’s criticism of nepotism. The superstar remains faceless, and this doesn’t exactly make things better.

To show the far-reaching effects of piracy, we see a production driver (Marimuthu) being affected. We see a failed producer who has become mentally unstable (MS Bhaskar)—a character who inspires Rudra to do more about the case. These seem interesting plot points, but it’s all bogged down by convenient writing and an overdose of cinematic liberties. Take, for instance, the scene that shows cops getting hold of an old photograph featuring the OG Tamilrockers group. We don’t get the ‘how’ of this event, and we don’t understand why.

The most disappointing aspect of the series is the portrayal of the Tamilrockers group. In real life, they possess a certain Robinhood-like image among the public. Here, they get shown as yet another criminal gang. They work in dingy spaces and are supposedly part of a bigger nexus that’s into terrorism and human trafficking. There is also a rather typical backstory to show the birth of Tamilrockers, one that reduces such an interesting idea to a mere case of personal vengeance.

The investigating officer is new to cyber crimes, and so, along with him, we too get taught the basics of cyber operations, including dull explanations about URLs, domains, and how websites get pulled down. A thriller like this ought to be a cat-and-mouse game, but this series simply lacks intensity despite the central race-against-time idea. There’s no great exploration of technology either—we get the same old GPS tracking, bug usage, USB hacking…

The show ends with a cliffhanger that hints at a second season, but you can predict the end reveal and twist from a long distance. For me,the slow-motion reveal didn’t inspire thrill; I felt relief that it was all finally over. There’s a dialogue that’s often used in this show: “Cinema-la logic paakadheenga... magic paarunga.” I’m not sure Tamilrockerz has much of either.

Director: Arivazhagan

Cast: Arun Vijay, Vani Bhojan, Iswarya Menon

Streaming on: SonyLIV

Rating: 2/5

Arun Vijay




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'Tamilrockerz' review: A great opportunity frittered (2024)


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