Sunday, May 30, 2010

Singam - Review

Spoiler-alert !!!

Lets get the governing dynamics clear - 
Saamy + Vettaikkaran = Singam --> Equation 1 

If all the Vijay films are turning out to be colossal disasters under the pretext of "No novelty in the storyline and performances", then why pick Vettaikkaran in the above equation ?. Because, it is the most recent Sun Pictures - Vijay combo, I watched on screens.

One can actually enter a bet to find six differences between "Vettaikkaran" and "Singam" - and can come up with points like, Aspiring police officer - Established police officer, the anti-social activity committed by the villains of the scripts etc. Anushka and Sun Pictures will contribute to the similarities list.

Well, the substantiation for Equation 1 needs to be presented.
Now, have a look at the following template (for the first half of the movie only) and just match with how many ever movies you want. Saamy, Arul, Vettaikaran, Singam are some notorious titles which will readily sit-into it with some minor tweaks.

- Villain's introduction - during and before title cards

- Hero
's introduction - Fight and opening song compulsory

- Comedian
's introduction (Association of the comedian with either the hero or the heroine)

- Heroine
's introduction (naughty, sportive, beauty)

- Villain
's family (the whole TN will know how bad the villain is, but the villain's wife is still not aware of it - the only job she seems to have is to serve breakfast for him)

- Comedy scene 1

- Heroine
's family (the heroine is the darling of the 10-odd people in her family, she is offered all freedom but to choose her guy)

- The villain is a bad guy - Instance 1 (committing some horrendous murders)

- Hero
's family (one more serial-family - this is optional)

- The hero is an epitome of goodness - Instance 1

- Villain's younger brother is a cheap rogue - womaniser, most of the times (turned on by the worker-maid or some shopping mall chic)

- Hero-heroine look at each other, sometime some place (But, the heroine still haven't reserved some real-estate in her heart for him)

- Comedy Scene 2

- The villain is a bad guy - Instance 2 (So many crimes in the Indian penal code - Pick one here)

- Hero catches a sight of the above (Trembling shoulders and boiling blood, he is not involving himself into the mess and stays away as he is not directly impacted by the "The villain is a bad guy - Instance 2" )

- Villain's younger brother commits a heinous crime (related to his innate womaniser instinct or some acts of rowdism)

- The hero unknowingly bumps into the Villain's brother and thrashes him (and 20-odd "office room boys") aside.

- Heroine, fortunately gets a glimpse of the above - fall in love

- Duet 1 in foreign locales.

- Hero - villain main encounter - No punch dialogues here. The hero shows his intentions to shy-away from the mess but the villain is not letting him to do so.

- Comedy Scene 3

- Romance followed by Duet 2

- Hero-Villain Head-on collision followed by the challenge - Punch dialogue guaranteed.

- Freeze the frame as the hero concluded the punch - Spin the letters of I-N-T-E-R-M-I-S-S-I-O-N and deposit it on screen.

Hari - what more can be expected of the Master-Masala-Maker who invariably - will pick up a town/city, have a powerful villain dictating the story, eyecandy heroine reserved for the duets and a mean "meanwhile" style screenplay interspersed with comedy pieces. Hari has started maintaining a police-template also, I believe and "Singam" is the latest output of the template. Dialogues - "I ll make you run out of Tamilnadu", "Chivalry, courage, intelligence of the Tamilnadu Police" - Yappa !!! Enough of it man ... starting from Sethupathi IPS, many police officers have uttered these stuff out.

What is this "meanwhile" stuff, anyways ? - Pick the first 40 minutes of any masala movie - the hero, villain, heroine and comedian will be doing things on their own with zero correlation coefficient. The villain is doing some anti-social activity - "meanwhile" the heroine is playing around merrily in her home - "meanwhile" the hero is doing some good deed to the society - "meanwhile" the buffoon is doing something somewhere. Scenes follow one by one, like the above ... Don't dare to call this "screenplay" ever. Kamal Haasan, who has been conducting screenplay workshops should do one for these guys and inculcate some sense of screen writing in them. 

When the first half was shot, well in lines with the above template, "Saamy" came to the rescue in the second half, in terms of screenplay. The hero - Romancing while in duty at check-posts, leading the ruffians to a lonely place to clobber them, losing some of his kins in the last 20 minutes, smartly follows the villain as he escapes to Andhra, delivers the final monologue message to the villain - are you not reminded of "Saamy" ?.

Surya - His 25th film this is. While I am very much happy with his resume thus far (starting out as a shy-ridden, seemingly resourceless and a naive youngster in "Nerukku Ner", whose only credential then was that - he was the son of the veteran actor Sivakumar), I am not full-of-praise for his 25th film. But, there were enough films in his kitty which will speak of his value as a performer to the present day tamil cinema. With his penchant for performances and an undeniable panache, Surya seems to be the only actor whom you can bank upon in look for good cinema. Way to go Surya and if he is inclined more to be a "hero" like his contemporaries (like in "Singam"), he is disappointing many in our camp.

Coming to Surya's performance in "Singam" - He just exhibits an animated, arrogant, powerful, adrenalin-ridden police officer, pulverising the jumbo-looking "office room boys" (like "Vettaikkaran" Vijay) in a few strokes. While speaking to his adversaries, Surya stands with his legs-apart ("stable equilibrium", probably) and shouts-aloud the dialogues (a bit irritating and monotonous mannerism, it becomes). He is soft-spoken only to Anushka and his family-people. There's a remarkable improvement in his dancing abilities as well, no doubts. The fight sequences should be loads-of-work for the film editor - so many shots - Juggernaut-like Surya thrashing the baddies, exploding tata-sumos, flying rowdies, slashing glass pieces - so much to cover and add to that a racy speed with which the sequence is enacted. 

Though one can be easily critical of Surya's performance in the movie, owing only to the monotone of a masala movie, you can only admire his crackerly-attitude in whatever he does on screen. His body language evokes an unconditional strictness (of a police officer) through-out and his fit 'n' trim physique add a special punch for the role, he enacts. Now, on a comparative note, there is a substantial difference in characterisations, displayed by Anbuchelvan (Kaakha Kaakha) and Durai Singam (Singam). The former sounds more driven by intuitions & smartness and the latter by emotions & raw physical abilities (of course, there is a lot of cognitive smartness as a police officer, exhibited by Durai Singam also). Nevertheless, Anbuchelvan is a calm-n-composed urbane police officer whereas Durai Singam articulates pages of punches in high pitches. Gautham Menon and Hari !!!

Anushka Shetty - Has she got some meat in the script to chew upon ?

- This is a masala/mass/entertainer
- This is a hero-centric Hari film
- This is from Sun Pictures

She is reserved for songs, precisely. Especially, in the second half, where the hero's itinerary is really filled up with appointments-with-villains, Anushka should have tried keeping herself busy with her dance master and the wardrobe-expert for the upcoming duet sequences (Hari has already sent her lines in several SMSes). Her cleavage-friendly attires in the songs successfully received many a "oohs" and claps from the audience. And yeah, she is tall and gorgeous. 

And, I wanted to mention this - There's this atrocious sequence which would lead Surya (Durai Sngam) to nick-name the heroine "Puli" in line with "Singam", which Hari also uses to get them introduced to each other - absolute lack of creativity, I felt.

Prakash Raj - looks aged - made up for the role, probably. Nothing special here - he has tossed up tons of performances like this, on us. For the umpteenth time, he is the Big Dada of the city with the police and politicians under his belt - owns many Tata sumos and elephantine "office room" boys. Loses out finally to Durai  Singam, the untouchable tough cop. 

Support Cast - It looks like, there has been an ordinance in effect at the Tamilnadu Film Artistes Association that atleast two from the following set {Vijaya Kumar, Radha Ravi, Manorama, Nizhalgal Ravi, Nasser}, should be a part of the support cast in any big budget production. Hari, so graciously includes the entire band here. No offence meant on the extremely talented artistes above, but we have got so much used to these guys' body language, dialogue delivery and mode of emotions that nothing new is in store for us. Support cast, on the other hand, is only horribly typecasted, thus trashing the real "potential" in these wonderful actors. They, like countless other occasions, deliver a cliched but balanced performance. we should feel sorry for talented thespians like Nasser, Girish Karnad who were always picked for petty malefactor roles. On a welcome note, our cinema these days, is actually getting progressive in sorting out the support artistes from the "society".

Vivek - should consult a good doctor - His "Mokkais" are turning pathetic. The concept of "Sirippu Police" has been tested by time but the comedy track just sucks here. Same old "Injury between legs" man !! ... When Murali and Vadivelu pole-vaulted and Vadivelu hurt his "%^&*" (for the first time, I believe), it was moderately funny with his facial expressions. Enough of it, Vivek tries to sound funny calling it by different names - Mani, Sombu, bulb - Not funny any more.

Songs were actually a let down. But, Sun pictures can make Dindukkal Sarathy's songs popular. Sun Music will take care of the rest. This has been in light for some time now - tamil pronunciations by North Indian singers - Shaan sings "Oru Vaarthai MoLiyaale" - Unbearable. "En Idhayam" was shot well in some ravishing foreign locales. And, according to Sun pictures rules, there was a real kuthu number 20 minutes before the close of the movie - Surya did a almost-Vijay here, dancing really well. 

I have this feeling that we turn a bit hypocritical when it comes to Surya and very much hypercritical to Vijay. Of course, Surya has proved his capability as a performer many a times before while the latter has never done so. Surya should, in future, choose his scripts judiciously to not to fall into "that" category.

Singam - Tamed circus lion performing routine stuff.


  1. When I saw Prakash raj on screen I thought 'romba ushar, does so many roles like this and makes quick money and churns out good movies to his liking in his own time, nalla logic'.

    Surya did really scream, it hurt my ears ! I am surprised you didn't comment on the surya-anushka height difference like everyone else has (or is that why you let it go?)