Tik Tik Tik is a Tamil science fiction thriller dubbed and released in Telugu with same title. It was promoted as India’s first space film. The film features Jayam Ravi and Nivetha Pethuraj in lead roles. Tik Tik Tik released worldwide on 22 June, 2018.
The main theme and subject of the film is inspired by the 1998 film ‘Armageddon’. In Armageddon, NASA scientists recruit the best deep-sea oil drillers to drill a hole in the asteroid that is about to hit the Earth, so that they can trigger a thermonuclear detonation and split it into Two, driving the pieces apart. It was the highest grossing film of the year 1998 and is one of the first films to discuss asteroid holocaust.
Apart from Armageddon, the film borrows ideas from other space films like Deep Impact, Gravity and Interstellar. The characterization of Jayam Ravi is inspired from Now You See Me series.
Tik Tik Tik Story:
A meteor falls in the residential complex in Vizag resulting in deaths and destruction. The meteor is of the size of a boulder and creates a crater due to impact. The defence officials meet for a confidential meeting about a rogue asteroid of the size of around 60 sq. kms. Which is on its way to fall into the Bay of Bengal within 7 days. The Indian defence ministry decides to blast it with nuclear missiles and split it into Two pieces which fly off the surface of the Earth. As India doesn’t have enough nuclear power, they decide to recruit a super thief who can steal a missile for them from the vault of a foreign Nation’s space station. The rest of the movie is about the problems they have faced in the mission and how they solved them.
The film relies heavily upon dialogues rather than visuals or music. During the opening sequence and while describing the repercussions of impact, the devastation is narrated through dialogue. The bonding between Vasu (Jayam Ravi) and his son is expressed through dialogues 3-4 times in the film instead of conveying the same through scenes. The backstory of protagonist doesn’t establish him as a con-artist but shows as a normal thief. If well made, it would have created tension for the rest of the film. The characterizations of Swapna (Nivetha Pethuraj) and Raguram (Vincent Asokan) are laughable. Swapna says that Vasu lacks any discipline while meeting him in prison. What kind of an army officer expects discipline from a criminal? The director Shakti Soundar Rajan adds all the masala to cater the film to the masses. There are references to Rajinikanth’s Kabali, Bigg Boss show and Oviya army.
The films of this genre create conflict out of incompatibility of team members, technical issues, unexpected problems, moral dilemma etc. The external antagonist serves no purpose than to elevate the protagonist. As the director focusses heavily on the protagonist, the rest of the team remain spectators to the majority of the film. The action sequence during the second half is a distraction from the mission. The comedy in first half didn’t help the film in anyway. The film would have been a lot better if all the team members have some skills and they contribute to the mission in some way.
The film has many loopholes in its narrative. Some of them could be mistakes in dubbing. Most of the flaws mentioned here are strictly scientific inaccuracies and such flaws are evident in many Hollywood films too. So, we cannot blame writer and director for them but a little research would have made the film a lot better.
Meteorite impact –
The meteorite of the size of a boulder could have resulted in more damage in the surrounding area. The scientists with masks testing the meteorite as if it’s an alien in ridiculous. The meteorites are generally treated like rocks and the scientists and researchers won’t wear gas masks as shown in the film. Generally, the Geochemists study them for their composition and texture. Such huge meteorites are placed in museums for visitors.
Asteroid size –
If an asteroid of the size of 60 sq km falls in Bay of Bengal at a distance of 50 km from the coast, then the entire crater would eradicate Vizag completely. This would create a crater of around 600 kms. The rocks in the crater become debris and fly into the Earth’s orbit while some part of the debris will rain on Earth all over the world. The impact will heat the atmosphere and result in Earthquakes, Tsunamis, forest fires, volcanic eruptions etc. The dust and smoke will cover the atmosphere and block the sunlight for several years which will eradicate much of the plant and animal life. Remember that the asteroid that resulted in extinction of Dinosaurs was just 10-15 kms wide. So, not just part of India and 4 Crore people, but the entire world will suffer the results of impact.
Secret mission –
NASA tracks and monitors asteroids that are larger than 30 to 50 meters in size. Considering the fact that any asteroid larger than 1-2 km width affects the whole world, India couldn’t handle a personal secret mission for it. Apart from USA, several other Nations will interfere and involve in the mission.
The little boy that destroyed Hiroshima was of 15 kilotons blast yield. The most powerful nuclear weapon ever detonated, known as the Tsar Bomba, had a yield of 50 megatons. This was developed by USSR and was in its limited form. So, the 200 kilotons missile is not a big deal in current generation. But the size of the missile will not be handy as shown in the film. The drama and action surrounding the missile forms the crux of the film, so it would have been calculated accurately. The energy generated from this blast will not just split but fragment the asteroid.
Space station –
The space station wouldn’t have that much of open area. In general, the space stations are constructed with narrow passages sufficient enough for transit. The larger open areas require more air which will cost more fuel and maintenance costs. The exit points in space station are very much exaggerated as the protagonist takes the missile and jumps out of an exit.
The characterization of antagonist is cliched throughout the film. He uses his position for selfish needs and kills subordinate without worrying about the repercussions. These things are overly dramatized as there is no way he could escape the interrogation.
There are several other flaws but these are the major ones considering the theme of the film.
Jayam Ravi proved his skills with this film. He delivered matured and settled performance throughout the film. His character is the backbone of the film and he justifies it. Nivetha Pethuraj is good in her role but there is not much scope for her character. Jayaprakash is convincing in his role.
The story could have been better as there are many flaws throughout the film. The music composed by D Imman is good but the genre demands more. The cinematography is good in first half and fine in second half. The editing is bad and disorients audience during interesting sequences. The VFX work is laudable and is the major attraction of the film. Several scenes including external view of space station, asteroid impact, view of Earth etc are remarkable considering the budget. The direction is good and his knowledge of contemporary space thrillers is evident throughout the film. But he could have done his own research instead of following the rules set by Hollywood films.
Tik Tik Tik is an engaging thriller and an interesting watch. If you can ignore the flaws in the film, it is a gripping space thriller with very good visual effects. The attempt by Director to make a space film is commendable.