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NGK’s Politics Is Laughably Juvenile




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.

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