Dharmadurai review: A subtle work without the histrionic

Scripted with subtlety and helmed without melodrama, Dharmadurai is far better a Tamil work one has seen in a long time.
Dharmadurai stars Vijay Sethupathi and Tamannaah and is directed by Seenu Ramasamy.(Seenuramasamy/Twitter)
Dharmadurai stars Vijay Sethupathi and Tamannaah and is directed by Seenu Ramasamy.(Seenuramasamy/Twitter)
Updated on Aug 19, 2016 05:52 PM IST
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Hindustan Times | ByGautaman Bhaskaran

Film: Dharmadurai
Director: Seenu Ramasamy
Cast: Vijay Sethupathi, Tamannaah, Aishwarya Rajesh, Srushti Dange, Radhika Sarathkumar
Rating: 3.5/5

Seenu Ramasamy’s Dharmadurai may appear too simplistic in today’s complex world of intrigue and perfidy, may even been lambasted for veering towards the coincidental.Even a trifle preachy in parts. But it is a film that has been scripted with subtlety and helmed without the melodramatic -- which Tamil cinema is notoriously renowned for.

And helping the narrative have been some performances -- with Radhika Sarathkumar as the protagonist, Dharmadurai’s (essayed by Vijay Sethupathi, a Ramasamy favourite) mother portraying a harried woman trying to keep together her large family of four sons, a couple of daughters-in-law and a little niece. But Dharmadurai is a restless drunk, is not at peace with the world, having been wronged by his family that demolishes his dream of marrying a simple village girl, Anbuselvi (a fine piece of acting by Aishwarya Rajesh of the Kaaka Muttai fame). He never loses an opportunity to shame his brothers in the village where they live, and where Dharmadurai had once practised medicine.

Read: Wagah review | A tottering script blanketed in hyperbole

Dharmadurai has been scripted well and does away with melodrama which makes it appealing.

Pushed to the wall, the brothers plot a murderous revenge, but Dharmadurai, tipped off by the mother, escapes into a flashback mode -- where we learn about his life in a medical college in Madurai and his two girl friends, played by Tamaannaah (as Subhashini) and Srushti Dange (as Stella). However, by the time Dharmadurai retraces his steps trying to find Stella and Subhashini, much water has flowed under the bridge.

Read: Thirunaal review | This Jiiva-Nayanthara starrer is a romp of rowdies

Watch the trailer of Dharmadurai here:

The movie travels along with its hero, taking us to some of the most picturesque spots in Tamil Nadu, captured hauntingly by cinematographer M. Sukumar (there are a couple of amazing shots of the evening sky), and set to some soothing Yuvan Shankar Raja music.

Also, a relatively more expressive Tamaannaah (a pleasing relief from her normal wooden self) and a comparatively more-at-ease Sethupathi pushed Dharmadurai a little higher in my esteem. Overall, a far better Tamil work that I have seen in recent months, and I am going with a liberal 3.5 stars.

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