At one point in The Legend, which is essentially about a world-renowned scientist discovering a cure for diabetes, a newspaper headline reads, “Yes Cure Diabetes Possible.” Now, you could brush this as plain ignorance, but in a film that revels in its own absurdity, we are left with a big question: Were the makers of The Legend already aware of the responses the film will elicit? This headline is one of many funny gaffes in The Legend, which is a rehash of multiple plot points from blockbuster films—and an extremely unique one-of-a-kind project.
The first time we see Saravanan on screen, he seems to have come out of Khader Nawaz Khan Road Fashion Week, even as he is sending goons flying into the air, with his well-gelled hair remaining curiously intact. While not much can be said of his perennial poker face, his costumes are exemplary. This attention to Saravanan’s looks, styling, and wardrobe is the most focus the makers seem to show in this film, which otherwise exists to just fill in the gaps between elaborate action set-pieces and colourful song sequences. To give credit where it is due, the makers do get the basic plot right. The ‘Medical Mafia’ is afraid that Saravanan’s discovery would put them out of business, and they use their entire might to put a stop to it. In between all the paraphernalia, including grating intentional comedy, and hilarious unintended ones, The Legend offers us a 160-minute joyride.
This is neither a spoof nor a parody, and the earnestness of the established names in the film, especially Prabhu, Latha, Thambi Ramaiah, Vijayakumar, Yogi Babu, Robo Shankar, Devadarshini, and Suman brings seriousness and much-needed gravitas to The Legend. The same holds good for the brilliant technical team of the film. Harris Jayaraj’s electrifying background score reminds us of how music plays a paramount role in our acceptance of any scene. Full points also to cinematographer Velraj for the finery we see unfold on screen. In some projects like The Legend, you see that money hasn’t been a limiting factor.
The Rajinikanth template is a tried-and-tested one for actors in search of superstardom, and Saravanan is no different. The love for the Superstar spills into vital plot points, song sequences, and action set-pieces. While the Sivaji hangover is most prevalent, we also get slight doses of Ejamaan and Muthu. But make no mistake, there is just one star in The Legend, and that is Saravanan.
The Legend is Saravanan realising his dream of being the star of a mass masala entertainer. While he has brought a great team together, his role is a relic from the past. While there are scenes that have Saravanan sounding a clarion call for feminism, these are interspersed with overwhelming inanity and unbearably saccharine goodness.
I mean, who calls diabetes “a sweet suicide?” Also, if you are a person in power in a college, what would you do to a bunch of hooligan students who sexually harass a woman, burn her house down, stomp her father to the ground, and constantly say ‘Ooh laa’ at every moment of depravity? Rusticate them? File a police complaint? At the very least, suspend them? But our Saravanan, who randomly appears with a whip (why does he carry one in the first place), and pulls off an Ungal Veettu Pillai MGR, lets them go scot-free because… “thirundharathukku oru vaaipu”.
In fact, every dialogue from Saravanan is either punchy or preachy. There is hardly a scene where he just has a conversation with someone. It is always addressed to the gallery, who might not buy into the concept of Saravanan as a messiah, but don’t really mind seeing him as a wannabe whose earnestness is infectious. Also, he gives off the vibe of being a rather nice man. In fact, in The Legend, there is a nice touch in the way they have employed sync sound to bring to life the role of the legendary Vivekh, who passed away before the film could be completed. Although his comic scenes don’t really have the punch, it is nice to see him onscreen one last time.
The Legend is mounted on a concept that expects the audience to root for the protagonist. It is evident that the textile giant Saravanan hasn’t done all the stunts, considering that the VFX makes it clear. And yet, we clap—out of amusement.
The lack of acting ability is just overwhelming. And yet, we whistle. The audaciousness of the plot is laughable. And yet, we hoot. The song and dance routines feel out of place. And yet, we groove along. We are happy to play along. The film might be just one big joke, and we are happy to be in on it.
Cast: Legend Saravanan, Prabhu, Urvashi Rautela, Geethika, Vivekh