In a film named after his illustrious grandfather, Vikram Prabhu gets a mass-hero entry. He sends someone flying through the air, and that someone crashes through the windshield of a car. Who is this man? A petrified Frenchwoman looks on. Maybe the man kidnapped her. Maybe he assaulted her. Maybe he Eve-teased her. And how did this call-taxi driver named Sivaji (Vikram Prabhu) stumble on this scene? According to the director, Ganesh Vinayaac, the details aren’t important. All we need to know is that Sivaji saves her. Later, as he drives her home, she punch-dialogues, “This sort of thing happens everywhere in the world, but only a Thamizhan has the guts to stand up to it.” Soon, Sivaji gets a punch of his own. A beggar comes up. He gives her a couple of hundreds, and tells his friends, “Yosikkaama kudutha dharmam. Yosichu kudutha pitchai.” It sounds good in a vague, motivational poster kind of way. The film is equally vague.
It has a couple of comedians in Robo Shankar and Yogi Babu. It has a villain in John Vijay (who seems unsure whether he’s supposed to play a comic villain or a real villain). It has a heroine in Shamili. It has the same backup dancers we see in every film. It’s scary, really, when you realise you watch so many films that you recognise the backup dancers. These ingredients are sprinkled like spice on the main course, a plot about a little girl who needs brain surgery. And then, Sivaji becomes an amnesiac. Say what? You get the feeling the director is making things up as he’s going along. Let’s have an item number. Let’s have a duet in Turkmenistan. Or wherever. Let’s lose the heroine for an hour. Okay, enough of the villain now. Let’s lose him and bring the heroine back.
It’s all head-spinningly awful, and the bad beer I had last night didn’t help. (I couldn’t decide where the queasiness was coming from.) Why is the average Tamil film so underwhelming in terms of form? Things can go wrong with the storyline or characterisation, but shouldn’t there be at least some basic technical competence? I’m talking about finesse, finish. Why do only a handful of our filmmakers care about these things? Take the world of writing. You can lose your way in a novel or an essay, but if you end up getting published and I pick up your book, I expect you’re going to have your spelling, grammar, punctuation right. Otherwise, why bother?
- Veera Sivaji= Sivaji the Brave!
- “Yosikkaama kudutha dharmam. Yosichu kudutha pitchai.” = Seriously not worth the translation.
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