Starring Suriya, Sai Pallavi, Rakul Preet Singh
Directed by Sevlaraghavan
Rating: ** ½(2 and a half stars)
It’s not easy being a superstar in the South. You constantly need to prove your worth to your fans . No wonder so many of them are playing heroes of the downtrodden, guys who rise from the paddy fields to occupy the seat of power in parliament , only so that they can help the needy and the poor.
And the claptrap lives.
Suriya’s turn as a grassroot politician in NGK is fun as long as he doesn’t take himself seriously. There is an engaging, if not entirely convincing episode where our hero Nandha Gopal Kumaran(NGK, get it?) ingratiates himself gradually into a vulgar MLA’s home and life. glowering at him and then quickly cooking cleaning and captivating him. What starts off as a game of one-upmanship between the powerful politician and his sly subordinate settles into becoming a relationship of some mutual respect.
Nicely done, Mr Director. Alas, if only the rest of the film came up with at least some fodder for fun beyond the hero’s sense of territorial supremacy. Whether in the kitchen with his mother and wife(Sai Pallavi) or going about the business of ploughing his way through the political slush, Suriya’s game is always topped by an arrogant belief that victory is, his.
This sense of supremacy is not new to Indian cinema.Suriya makes it look like fun by bringing in an element of vulnerability into his heroic act. But the fun doesn’t last long. The belated entry into the plot of Rakul PreetSingh as a chic suited ambitious career woman who doesn’t think twice about ‘stealing’ away another woman’s husband,is a typical illustration of the predatory working woman. The kind we thought had vanished in the era ofMeToo.
That’s why I say Tamil cinema’s iconic heroes from Rajinikanth to Ajith to Suriya are always educational. NGK left me with a sense of unfinished business. As if the politician-hero’s journey has been way too episodic to wrap up into a comprehensive picture. With a little bit more restraint and moderation in extolling the leading man this could have been an appealing portrait of a clever man’s rise to political ascendancy. For now, let’s just say Suriya is having more fun with his roles than ever before.
Now if only we can join in.