Friday, May 28, 2010

Singam (Tamil) review

Starring: Surya, Anushka, Prakash Raj, Naseer, Vivek
Director: Hari

The film opens with the face of a lion - which is what Singam means in Tamil and then grandly announces this to be its lead actor, Surya's 25th film. It's evident then that Singam will be another grand showcase vehicle for its talented lead actor and the film turns out to be just that. Once actors down South acquire a kind of mass fan following, a lot of their films are only interested in coming up with a plot-line that will do best to project the star's heroism and virtues. It happens with all Rajnikanth starrers, where a script is entirely dispensible against his towering image and charisma.

From the past few films, Surya seems to be consciously aiming to shed some of his 'thinking actor' image and turning towards massy entertainers. The actor who impressed critics and class audiences alike with his films like Ghajini, Varanam Aayiram, Silluna Uru Kadhal and Ayutha Ezhuthu has been doing hard-core commercial fares like Ayan, Aru and now, Sigham. It's certainly helped him garner tremendous clout at the boxoffice, but one hopes he can balance it with more meaningful films.

Does that make Singam just another run-of-the-mill film? The subject is certainly not new in any sense. Durai-singam (Surya) is an honest cop in Nallore and enjoys immense good-will among his people there. He meets a businessman's daughter, Kavya (Anushka), who falls for his brave acts and sense of justice. In between, there are a dozen long action sequences, where Surya single-handedly takes on petty criminals and eve teasers in his area. He chases them all over the place, beats them up mercilessly, and then as the poor men grovel before him, the hero unleashes dialogues on them that go on forever. And in utmost reverence to the leading man, the camera captures all his flying kicks in slow motion, and when there is an opportunity for a close-up, Surya's face gets graphically morphed into that of a real lion. Much of this is so funny, that even people who generally dread a lot of blood and gore in films would not seriously mind any of this. Incidentally, it's also low on vulgarity, unlike films of this genre, so families can go ahead and watch it.

The not-so-big twist in the tale comes when Singam is promoted as an inspector to Chennai. This brings him in direct confrontation with one of the most dreaded local goons of the place, Mayilvaganan (Prakash Raj). The script suggests that there would be a powerful conflict here, and the fact that the film takes a heavy-weight actor like Prakash Raj for the villain's part, sets up the drama nicely. However, the makers are so focussed on establishing Surya as peerless and ferocious and all that, that the conflict becomes entirely lopsided. Singam wins every battle against Mayilvaganam and the latter, who till Surya enters the scene seems like an interesting character, is relegated to the role of a standard villian.

In spite of flaws, Singam works as a decent masala entertainer, and that's thanks to a superlative Surya. He does not have Rajni's flamboyance, but he is still a very watchable actor. The best part of the film is the romance between Surya and Anushka. It's not overdone and the emotions feel just right. Anushka resembles Kareena Kapoor from certain angles, and is competent in her part. Director Hari, who made commercial fares like Saamy and Vel, has an assured style, and his screenplay is pacy. Overall, Singam has nothing new to offer in terms of story-line, but the mix of action, thrills and romance makes it one of the better films this season.

Rating: **1/2

-Sandhya Iyer


Anonymous Anonymous said...

>>>He does not have Rajni's flamboyance, but he is still a very watchable actor.

Did you watch or drool ;-)

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