Supposed to be a massy masala movie that is totally ‘paisa wasool’, Siruthai is anything but so. Having to pay exorbitant ticket (weekend) prices to see this travesty of a film at a city multiplex reaffirms even more what a waste of time and money this film was. Just when one speaks of Tamil cinema in glowing terms about the innovative work being done both within the mainstream format as well as outside it, along comes a Siruthai to take it that many steps backwards.
The film, directed by Siva, is actually cheeky enough to give a disclaimer in the beginning that since the film is set in Andhra, it justifies the loud behaviour of the villains – wonder what the Andhra community would make of that! In fact, the film does have a feel of the comparatively louder Telugu masala film rather than the relatively more subtle Tamil one. But then it is also a re-make of a Telugu film – Vikramarkudu (2006), a smash hit starring Ravi Teja in the dual roles that Karthi dons here.
Rocket Raja (Karthi) and his sidekick (Santhanam) are conmen in Chennai who cheat people in a variety of ways. One day as they steal a trunk, they find a little girl, Divya, asleep inside. As she wakes up, she declares Raja to be her father. This causes a misunderstanding with the girl Raja loves, Shweta (Tamannaah), who walks out on him. It turns out that Raja looks exactly like the little girl’s widower father, brave and fearless police Officer Pandian (Karthi again), and hence Divya’s confusion. The bane of the villains Bhauji and his brother in Andhra, he is also somehow in Chennai but is fatally injured when he comes to Raja and Divya’s rescue when they are attacked. Raja now takes the dead cop’s place, destroys the villains in his own corny way and reclaims Shweta as well.
Forget logic, forget coherence of story and screenplay (and there are many, many big holes really not worth going into), one is able to able to forgive a lot if the intended entertainer has the right items at least. Is it too much to ask for a nice romantic track, a genuinely funny comedy one, catchy hummable songs picturised well with zingy choreography and well executed action scenes? These are items good mainstream Tamil cinema revels in. But barring some good moments in the comedy track, Siruthai offers practically nothing else. The romantic track is stupid even vulgar, songs a big disappointment (Only Rocket Raja is hummable enough and the lorie somewhat soothing), their picturisations even more drab with more insipid dancing (the item song with the fatty woman is grotesque), the hackneyed fight scenes have some woefully tacky wire work and the film has even worse visual FX thrown in. But it has to be said the film tries every trick in the book using even divine intervention – the rain to revive Pandian. It’s just that it’s all done so badly.
Karthi still does manage to carry the film somewhat with his Rocket Raja role. Though loud as hell and overplayed (you always feel he is ‘acting’), it still works due to the sporadic comic moments and there are enough times you feel he is genuinely enjoying letting himself go. And he is well aided by Santhanam in these scenes. However, the tough cop Pandian has nothing in it for him except to look fiery, give some punch dialogue and beat 20 men at a time and he too is unable to rise above it. Somewhere, more than being the main reason for a film’s success, Karthi has been seen in films that have been packaged well around him with music particularly in Paruthiveeran (2007), Paiyaa (2009) and Naan Mahaan Alla (2009) playing a big, big role in those films and helping them to score at the box-office. In fact, Paruthiveeranand Naan Mahaan Alla also boasted of fine directorial control by the filmmakers aided by some good filmic craft and engrossing storytelling that took prominence over everything else. Here, if at all the film succeeds, he would be the sole reason for it to have done so as he is just about the only half good thing in the film.
Of the rest, Tamannaah once again proves that her being at the top of Tamil cinema just highlights the paucity of decent leading ladies there. She even plays the bimbette heroine badly. Thankfully she has precious little to do in the film as she vanishes from the scene for quite some time. The villains come across as inept jokers while Pandian’s Police colleagues, Jhansi and Bharat, supposedly brave officers themselves, have nothing to do but be impotent, stand there and cry when Pandian gets bashed up and stand there and smile when he bashes up the villain. Really!
The technicalities jostle with each other to loudly call attention to their shoddy selves be it the over abused wide angle dominated camerawork, DI work that at times sends colours and skin tones for a toss, obvious and jerky editing cuts, loud background score and even a disappointing Production Design.
All in all, Siruthai shows to what depths the South Masala film can plummet to if not handled well.
Tamil, Action, Drama, Comedy, Color