Dayal Padmanabhan's filmmaking style has undergone sea changes since 2014. From just regular commercial potboilers, the director shifted focus to content-oriented movies and has won appreciation for some of his works in recent years. Now, he has returned once again with an off-beat film in the form of Thrayambakam, his third film in nine months after Aa Karala Ratri and Puta 109.
Thrayambakam is about Shiva Rudriah (Raghavendra Rajkumar), who has a nightmare over his daughter Namana (Anupama Gowda)'s life. His trepidation leads to interesting twists and successfully creates confusion about reality versus illusion in the first half. The second half unravels the mystery with backstories.
Filmmakers get inspiration from books, movies, stories, incidents or by reading newspapers. And Dayal, here, gets his inspiration (only outline) from the famous Palani Murugan stature (Tamil Nadu), made of navapashana (meaning: amalgamation of nine poisons). It is believed that the panchamrutha, milk and other materials used for abhishekam absorb the medicinal properties from the deity and is believed to possess curative properties.
The idea and narration are fresh as Dayal tries to build a different perception about the situation that the main character is going through. However, the major problem with the film is that the magic that Dayal had in writing the scripts of his last two films is missing here.
The scenes of Shiva Rudiah's nightmare from the very beginning and the slow progress of the story turn out to be major drawbacks of the film. He mixes up various elements to keep the viewers' guessing, but once the secret is revealed the film falls flat. Nonetheless, it is a kind of informative film about 'navapashana' and Palani Murugan temple.
Raghavendra Rajkumar proves that he still has fire left in him. He is stupendous as a worried father and Anupama Gowda is raising the bar with each film. Among the technicalities, the aerial shots are a treat to watch.