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Sarkar Is Strictly For Fans Of Vijay

Sarkar(Tamil)

Starring Vijay, Keerthy Suresh, Varalaxmi Sarathkumar

Directed by A  R  Murugadoss

Rating: * ½

Sarkar has no relevance to Ram Gopal Varma’s Hindi film of the same title where Amitabh Bachchan  played a wily politician  modeled on Maharashtra’s iconic Balasaheb Thackeray.

The  wannabe nattily attired  neta that Vijay plays in the  new Sarkar seems  modeled on no Indian politician, living or dead, that I’ve  come across. Although the opening  credits have  shots of Mahatma Gandhi  and Subhas Chandra Bose I am pretty sure they would be as  baffled by Vijay’s brand  of   braindead  politics as I  was.

The  film is ostensibly a comment  on the Indian citizen’s right to vote. But  the democratic  right to freedom is denied bySarkar which  smothers us in hero-worship of  the most fawning  variety.

Let’s just say this is  the superstar  Vijay’s brand of politicking  where  Tamil nadu’s Chief Minister and  his brother (nepotism , reloaded) are shown as glorified goons. Or maybe  not even glorified. The first time the political brothers are shown  on  screen they have three large suitcases  in front of them . One of them contains the writhing  half-dead head of an enemy. At this point, the head is presumably attached to the torso although we see only the  bloodied head peeping out of the suitcase.

That’s the typical brand of  brutality  director Murugadoss specializes  in.Remember Asin’s  bludgeoned head in  Ghajini? Rest assured,  the rest of the lengthy rambling  film is not a gore fest at all. Why  antagonize Vijay’s younger fans. Why give them ache when they ask for bread?  The  film offends no one except politicians in Tamil Nadu who are shown as snarling smirking morons smarting for a fight.

And boy,  does  our hero give it to them! Every 15 minutes there is a fight break where Vijay smashes  the  opposition with his hands, feet, head, planks, bricks and any  object he can lay his hands on. The  action is  performed in the spirit of  acarnivalesque carnage . The brawls are shot with swings of  mischief  and swigs  of  humour where  Vijay, playing  NRI‘corporate monster’ Sundar  all but winks at  us to  remind us that  under all the  braggadocio, amplified heroism,  machismo, deification and mythologicization , Vijay is  just one of the masses.

Sarkar  stresses, empahasizes and punctuates  the hero’s mass appeal to an excruciating  level of  obsequiousness. It is never a  good idea for a director to be in awe of his leading man. Murugadoss seems  to love Vijay’s every slo-mo gesture , every  shift of the wrist and  blink of  the eye .The camera caresses the  contours  of  the Superstar’s  star-power  with religious fervor. Little wonder, then, if chunks of  the  uneven jerky bumpy film feels like  prolonged religious satsangs where the  Godmanholds thousands in a thrall.

By  the time Vijay makes his last  political speech we know  the film’s not-so-hidden agenda is  to build  the  star as a  formidable political figure. Would Sarkar catapult  Vijay to  political stardom? I seriously doubt even the  star’s staunchest fans  can take the  pulpit propaganda seriously. There are emotionally manipulative episodes showing  women wailing, men shrieking and  one particularly distasteful  episode  of  a badly-burnt child  being mollycoddled  by Vijay like Salman Khan’s well-publicized visits to orphanages and hospitals.

Minus Vijay Sarkar has  nothing to offer his fans. The supporting cast is  unabashedly  peripheral. Varalaxmi Sarathkumar’s  character  of  the CM’s  contumacious daughter has potential. But all  she does is  snarl into her cellphone pretending she  is abroad(4-5  blondes  in  the background to prove it). It’s a pity to see the pretty Keerthy Suresh reduced to a mere hanger-on  to her leading man.Patriarchy is  ok as long as  the hero behaves  himself.

As for A R  Rahman’s music and songs, time for a break,perhaps?

The songs and  the  carefully choreographed  dances  have no relevance  to the plot. One sincerely hopes  the same  to be true apropos Vijay’s relevance to politics.  He should do himself a favour.  Just concentrate on being a matinee idol.

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