Vijay, it is said, is the biggest star of Tamil cinema after Rajinikanth. His last release Mersal made Rs 100 crores at the southern box office. His latest film — the eagerly awaited Sarkar — has, however, proved to be a big disappointment.
Trite plot, predictable storytelling, indifferent direction by the redoubtable AR Murugadoss...what were Vijay and Murugadoss thinking?
Vijay is undoubtedly the king of the Tamil box office. And why just Tamil? Vijay is equally popular in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka. These states scheduled round-the-clock shows of Sarkar Tuesday onwards. The combination of actor Vijay and director AR Murugadoss created great expectations as they had earlier scored blockbuster status with Kaathi and Thupakki.
Says the film’s softspoken director Murugadoss, “This is my third film with Vijay. And the one I’m most nervous about. The reason being the audiences’ expectations. We’ve worked hard to give them something exciting. We hope nobody goes home disappointed.” Well, apparently most Vijay fans have gone home disappointed.
Unlike Rajinikant, Vijay gives no press interviews. So we have no way of knowing how he feels about Sarkar. However a source close to Vijay reveals the star is preparing for a plunge into active politics.
“Sarkar is Vijay’s most political film to date. It features him as a social cleanser. The same role has been played very successfully by Mahesh Babu in the Telugu hit Bharat Ane Nenu and Vijay Deverakonda in the Telugu film Nota. While these two actors playing the roles of politicians have no political ambitions in real life, Vijay most decidedly wants to use Sarkar as a steppingstone to a real life career in politics,” says a co-actor of Vijay.
Going by the frenzy generated at the advance booking counters for Sarkar, Vijay was definitely on to a potentially massive success with the film. Seeing the way the film has been received, it would be a miracle if Sarkar breaks even.
The main problem, say trade experts, is with the film’s pricing. Sarkar had been sold for theatrical release at an unheard of price of Rs 80 crores. Unheard of in the South, that is. Recovery at that budget level is next to impossible, even if Sarkar becomes Vijay’s career’s biggest hit, which it is unlikely to be.
A colleague of Vijay, himself a huge star in Tamil Nadu says Sarkar is no more than a promotional vehicle for its leading man. “You can see in every frame that Murugadoss is in love with his hero. And that isn’t the best motive to make a film,” says Vijay’s colleague.