There are several tags that Kollywood uses to classify its films. The most exasperating of the lot has to be, ‘a fun, family entertainer’; especially when most of the films that come with this tag are neither fun, nor entertaining. Vishnu Vishal’s latest Silukkuvarpatti Singam (SS) is the latest to join this illustrious list of comedies that attempt to operate on the Sundar C formula from his Ullathai Allitha days -- some mindless attempts at humour with a chaotic climax.
This template has been refurbished so many times that Sundar C himself should consider putting it to rest (considering the fact it still gives us films like Kalakalappu 2). Yet, no. We continue to get films that with different characters revolves around the same-old structure of ‘masala, commercial cinema’.
SS is the story about a scaredy-cat cop, Sathyamurthy (Vishnu Vishal). His name is probably the biggest joke in the film, considering that he lies through his teeth to almost everyone. According to the rules of Tamil cinema, the hero obviously has to fight against a ‘massive don’ and we are introduced to Cycle Shankar. How does Sathyamurthy’s path cross Cycle Shankar’s? Does he manage to gather the courage to stand up to him?, forms the crux of the story.
To be honest, SS doesn’t fare too badly on the outrage meter. Unlike, say a Thimiru Pudichavan or a Billa Pandi, I wasn’t enraged enough to kill someone when I walked out of the theatre after watching SS. In fact, I managed to have a few laughs as well. However, the humour is extremely problematic at certain points. A gang of men, including Singam Puli, get arrested for causing a ruckus at a bar.
The wives of these men arrive at the station the next day, asking the police to jail them for at least a year as their alcoholic husbands come home and torture them every day. The police say they can hold them for a year based on a nuisance case and then one of the wives says, "make it a rape case as that is what they do every night. In isolation, this is a step of agency but with the caricaturish writing, marital rape is now just a joke. How are we supposed to laugh at something that has been at the middle of an intricate, layered debate?
Forget the problematic. I pity the women who inhabit these spheres. Even the normal scenes, don’t show the women in a respectable light. As always the heroine, Rajeshwari, (Regina Cassandra) has nothing much to do from looking pretty and show-off her wardrobe of nice clothes. To serenade her, our hero uses students to deliver love letters. In the present climate of insecurity and crime, the age-old concept of using child messengers becomes a question of concern. But come on, it is just a fun film. That inherently means that we should brace ourselves for a rehash of the same old jokes for the nth time.
On the brighter side, (yes, thankfully there is one), we have a brilliant Yogi Babu with an unending trunk of funny retorts. The flavor du jour comedian adds his own effervescence to the ancient sidekick villain role, that makes his act more enjoyable than the main villain. His dialogues are effortlessly delivered, and for the most part funny. Vishnu Vishal is consistent and earnest in his performance as the self-centered cop who smooth-talks his way out of sticky spots.
Considering that I haven’t been enamoured by many ‘commercial movies’, I saw Silukkuvarupatti Singam as an opportunity to cut myself loose, set aside all notions and my opinions of mass cinema aside and watch it objectively. However, the film left me completely unaffected. I couldn’t even muster the strength to cry foul at several things in the film. Then I remembered that this was a fun film, I shouldn’t be working myself up over it. After all, this is a fun film. Isn’t it?
Film: Silukkuvarpatti Singam
Cast: Vishnu Vishal, Regina Cassandra, Yogi Babu, Karunakaran
Director: Chella Ayyavu