Gautaman Bhaskaran’s Review: Singam | india | Hindustan Times
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Gautaman Bhaskaran’s Review: Singam

Tamil cinema is obsessed with idolising its hero, making him gigantically larger than life, awfully unrealistic and, in the bargain, making him monstrous and inhuman.

india Updated: Jun 03, 2010 20:12 IST
Gautaman Bhaskaran

Gautaman Bhaskaran
Gautaman Bhaskaran
Tamil cinema is obsessed with idolising its hero, making him gigantically larger than life, awfully unrealistic and, in the bargain, making him monstrous and inhuman. Superstar Suriya is transformed into one such creature in Reliance Big Picture-produced, Hari scripted and directed Singam (Lion). As sub-inspector Duraisingam in a small Tamil Nadu village called Nallur, he does, in fact, seem to be endowed with beastly strength.

The story and script have been tailored for Suriya’s daredevilry that includes fighting tens of ferocious looking goons with his bare fists. Sometimes, he takes off his police uniform and throws away his revolver to get into the extra-constitutional mode. But Duraisingam’s real battle begins when he confronts Mayilvahanam (essayed by Prakash Raj, who is often wasted in such inane roles), a land-grab shark, who also kidnaps children for ransom. He uses his clout with the State Home Minister and gets Duraisingam transferred to a Chennai suburb, where Mayilvahanam’s raj prevails.

Hari intersperses this bloody, unrelenting fights with Vivekh’s (as cop Erimalai) juvenile clowning and Anushka’s (as Kavya, daughter of a business tycoon, portrayed by Nasser, again a great potential wasted) romantic love for Duraisingam. Sadly, there appears little chemistry between the two, and Anushka is stiff and wooden, and her skimpy costumes in the dance numbers are but a desperate attempt at drawing crowds.

Admittedly, Suriya is a good performer, only that his part often seems unbelievable, with the result that Duraisingam becomes an unpalatable cocktail of James Bond (with his licence to kill) and an apostle of peace. He runs his own brand of panchayat raj in his station, where he asks warring men to shake hands, hug each other and bury their enmity. Outside, the red brick walls, he is ruthless, dispensing justice with the might of his lion paw, and if there is administrative displeasure at this show of strength, it is strangely weak and diluted.

Tamil films need to do a lot more soul searching to find a pleasing balance between the real and unreal, and it is here that one misses the cinema of yesteryear that despite its tendency to sink into melodrama was far more genuine.