Sarkar movie review: Vijay returns to solve all of Tamil Nadu’s problems. He can’t

Hindustan Times | By, Chennai
Nov 06, 2018 01:33 PM IST

Sarkar movie review: Director AR Murugadoss’ film is made more to maintain Vijay’s superstar image rather than to tell the story of a character or his struggles.

Director: AR Murugadoss
Cast: Vijay, Varalaxmi Sarathkumar, Keerthy Suresh, Radha Ravi
Rating: 2/5

In Sarkar, Vijay earns the applause and cheers from audience for himself rather than the film.
In Sarkar, Vijay earns the applause and cheers from audience for himself rather than the film.

Vijay’s Sarkar was supposed to be the panacea to all the ills that our political system suffers from. Alas, AR Murugadoss has designed it as a paean to his lead star -- the film is so busy deifying Vijay that everything else falls out of focus. Sarkar is no political thriller but if you want Vijay’s carefully-crafted screen persona and everything that the star stands for, this is just the film.

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The effort is obvious from the first scene itself -- Vijay’s Sundar Ramasamy is shown as a corporate monster who runs one of the world’s most successful corporations. He manipulates the weaknesses of his opponents and takes over businesses. Sundar comes to India, not to acquire corporates but to cast his vote. The ignoramuses running other companies are not aware of this and the boardroom reaction to him touching down in Chennai is trepidation mostly reserved for stock market crashes.

Only, Sundar finds his vote has already been cast. Our superhero corporate czar takes just a night to understand the intricacies of the Indian Penal Code and election laws. He zeroes in on 49P of IPC to ignite a revolution, a clause that allows a person to cast their vote even if it has been fraudulently cast before. To show how Vijay’s Sundar is heads and shoulders above the cream of India’s legal system, a lawyer named Jethmalani and the judge presiding over the case are not even aware of this particular law! Perhaps, Murugadoss and Vijay can do a sequel on what ails India’s education system next.

Throughout the film, the only thing that the filmmaker seems to have paid attention to is Vijay’s image. It is not the character that Murugadoss is building up but the actor himself. Every slow-motion sequence tries to enhance Vijay’s credentials, every conflict in the film tries hard to make an impact, but ends up being overdramatic. The random songs inserted at inappropriate instances don’t help either.

Radha Ravi and Varalaxmi Sarathkumar play the villains in this pseudo political drama, while Keerthy Suresh plays the female lead whose only job seems to sing and dance. Varalaxmi as Komalavalli plays an interesting antagonist in the film, just not impressive enough. The lack of a strong antagonist or supporting characters fails the film. After all, every great hero needs a great villain.

Sarkar has its moments, though. The scene where Sundar addresses the public and creates awareness about what citizens in the country are missing and why, is electric. It is emotionally charged, and with just the right amount of outrage that will surely elicit claps and cheers from audience for how appropriate it is in the current political climate.

Murugadoss accurately shows how marketing is all-important today. Be it politics or corporate business, one viral video could change the course of many lives. But the director over-stuffs the film with every raging political issue of the day -- Jallikattu, unopposed government formation, Sri Lankan Tamil issue, fishermen issue and more. While they are sure to hit a nerve, the heavy dialogues, the self-serving storyline and the focus on emotional issues make it a star vehicle being sold as a political thriller.

Sarkar is not a great film, but it is a great vehicle for the mass hero in Vijay. The claps and cheers are not for the film , but for the mass hero delivering whistle-worthy dialogues. The rest is just smart promotion.

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