Sarkar movie review: Watchable, but there could have been more to the story

DECCAN CHRONICLE. | ANUPAMA SUBRAMANIAN
Published Nov 8, 2018, 4:22 pm IST
Updated Nov 8, 2018, 4:22 pm IST
Vijay goes from menacing to bloodshed to street-smart intellectual, and again to kind, empathetic individual.
A still of Vijay from Sarkar.
 A still of Vijay from Sarkar.
Rating:

Director: AR Murugadoss

Cast: Vijay, Keerthi Suresh,Varalaxmi Sarathkumar, Pazha Karuppaiah, Radha Ravi

 

AR Murugadoss’s stories are usually woven by having an overarching central theme, around which revolves politics, capitalism, violence, justice and other light lunchtime pleasantries. Sarkar brings all these elements back once again, but due to discrepancies in character traits and realistic lack of motivation, we do not feel the force of the central plot where Vijay plays as a hero of the common man. Alright, it’s unfair to expect logic and realism in a super high budgeted and mass marketed Tamil movie. But deviate too far from expected outcomes and the film just becomes a farce.

Luckily for most of us, shutting off our brains and enjoying a nonsensical wild ride in to the realm of the absurd has become our de facto movie going experience. Thus begins Sarkar, where the talk of the town is the much anticipated India visit of Sundar Ramaswamy (Vijay.) Being the CEO of one of the largest companies of the world, GL, Sundar is painted as a firebrand who would go above and beyond to ensure that his corporate competitors are destroyed on the financial markets. Unsavory employee meetings and cringe-worthy ‘research sessions’ on Sundar are kicked off across tech companies in India, fearing that this mogul can bring anyone in his crosshairs. In addition, Sundar is also compared to mongol emperor Genghis Khan, which is problematic as the latter is known for his genocidal past.

Instead, Sundar returns to Chennai in his private jet and is followed by his entourage with the sole purpose of casting his vote in the upcoming statewide elections. The business community breathes a collective sigh of relief, but given Sundar’s transmutational corporate skills, Tamil Nadu politics is in for a wild ride. He reaches his local booth to cast his vote, only to find out that it had been stolen and cast by someone else! His opponent is a cutthroat politician and CM of the state Masilamani (Pazha Karuppiah), who along with his conniving daughter Komalavalli (Varalaxmi Sarathkumar), is out to decimate the state and keep power to themselves. Whether Sundar can use his unwavering determination and other superpowers to stop this madness forms the crux of Sarkar.

Subtlety is actively removed from Sarkar. The political climate is instant and obvious to grasp, given the demise of Jayalalithaa and the pessimistic outlook that has engulfed the state. After like 30 minutes of the film, one can easily sense that director Murugadoss has embraced the ludicrous and meme-worthy content on display. Allusions are easy to spot, from Vijay’s conspicuous name perhaps inspired by Google CEO Sundar Pichai to Varalaxmi’s character resembling some warped mixture of JJ and Sasikala. One of the executives Vijay meets is ‘Infoware’ CEO ‘Narayana’... After a while, these references get more amusing than tiring as long as you approve of the mind-numbing entertainment.

As it is with every Vijay movie, the story is Vijay from beginning to end. The actor delivers on all fronts and is very bold and visible to the cameras. He goes from being menacing to outright bloodshed to the street-smart intellectual, and back again to a kind, empathetic individual in the blink of an eye. Perhaps his intro of smoking a cigarette in slo-mo could have used a bit more thought as it has only been done a thousand times before. Pazha Karuppiah’s character is clichéd and lifeless, and his right-hand Rendu (Radha Ravi) is given the more interesting bits. Varalaxmi is menacing but her characterization is a mismatch. Keerthy Suresh’s only job is to walk alongside Vijay. Perhaps that’s why the actor had dismissed his secretary early on in the film.

Moving on to the other aspects, AR Rahman’s music is hit or miss, as a number of songs don’t help the movie move forward. Gireesh Gangadharan’s cinematography fits the bill. Sarkar is watchable, but there could have been more to the story than one man’s political broadcasts.

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