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Cast: Vijay, Keerthy Suresh, Varalaxmi Sarathkumar, Pazha Karuppiah, Radharavi
Director: AR Murugadoss

Undoubtedly, the current political climate in Tamilnadu is providing ample fodder to Tamil cinema, which has “incidentally” been the go-to industry for many who wants to make the political plunge. After a hilarious Tamizh Padam 2 and NOTA which border-line spoofed the scenario, the Vijay starrer AR Murugadoss directorial Sarkar takes on the ongoing sequence of events in a serious and a holistic manner. Speaking about seriousness, this actor-director combos’ previous two collaborations, Thuppaki and Kaththi have turned out to be super-hits and if that doesn’t send the stakes up north, Vijay has been having a dream run with back to back blockbusters and A.R.M needs a hit desperately after the Spyder fiasco.

While heroism used to be sending goons flying and mouthing punch dialogues, it goes a step ahead in Sarkar, where Sundar Ramasamy (Vijay in something of an extension of Sanjay Ramasamy from ARM’s own Ghajini), a ‘corporate monster’ who comes down to India to vote ends up becoming a victim of bogus voting. When he decides to knock the doors of the court to get justice, I was expecting a scene similar to the one in Sivaji where Rajini’s character would be sent from pillar to post just because they wanted to come up with a change. We instead get sequences where Sundar mugs up the entire law book overnight like an engineering student on a day before his exams and he ends up teaching law to the lawyers and the judge. Remember the scene in The Avengers where Maria Hill asks Tony Stark “When did you become an expert in thermonuclear astrophysics?” and he replies “last night”?

Speaking about Sivaji, the only similarity we get in both these films are the lines “nee thirupi America vuke poidu“. While Vivek says it in the Rajini starrer, Nila (Keerthy Suresh) mouths this in Sarkar. And probably because the film happens predominantly in the mornings, we don’t get to see Nila at all and if this “joke” annoys you, then you’ll get less than that in this film. Seriousness is the word here fellas. Thankfully, on the other hand, we have Komalavalli a.k.a pappa (Varu) as a shrewd politician. It’s one of those rare roles that gets extremely minimal screen space in the first half, only to almost steal the show in the second. In a stark contrast to her negative role in Sandakozhi 2, Varu will make you wish she had more to do in the film. Radha Ravi too leaves a mark with his casual acting and lethargic mannerisms as Rendu.

Considering the film talks in length about real life issues, the list of topics untouched would actually be shorter. Right from Jallikattu to fishermen, from hydrocarbon to methane, from corruption to lack of basic necessities and from people in power getting away with murders to people killing themselves, Sarkar touches everything. Though the film tries to highlight that none of these would be prevalent under a good leadership, as the screenplay department decides to bite more than what they can chew, we’re not left with much to get hooked on to.

A.R.M and Atlee seem to be the best directors when it comes to making Vijay play to the gallery. Right from the quintessential phone call right before the interval where Vijay utters those magical two words to his opponent (if you’re wondering, it’s ‘I’m waiting’), to his fist to the cheek to crack a joint, there are enough scenes that would send a Vijay fan on a frenzy. But Sarkar overdoes it to an extent where the lead’s mannerisms don’t seem cool after a certain point. Though placed clearly for the commercial aspects, the fights are well choreographed and the slow-mo shots by Girish Gangadharan (who is making his Tamil debut with this film) are energetic. As the songs didn’t match up to the regular tracks one can expect in a Vijay film, the ones such as Simtaangaran and OMG Ponnu double as speed breakers. While CEO In The House doesn’t give the josh of a Vijay intro track, the use of Oru Viral Puratchi and Top Tucker as montage songs add intensity to the scenes.

On the whole, Sarkar is a film that tries to preach an important political message that doesn’t really convince you as it’s given with a heavy coating of hero worship.

My rating: 2.5/5


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