You have to grant it to him — offbeat or run-of-the-mill, Vikram works on his roles with immense dedication and zest. Sethu or Dhil, he gives it his all. The latest proof is his high-octane action in Rajapattai (U). Playing an invincible bodybuilder and an aspiring actor who wants to be a villain in cinema, Vikram shoulders the onus of revving up a story that's passé and a screenplay that's pedestrian. As a performer he doesn't have much scope, but he has done his bit to bolster up the show. And how much can sinews and style alone help a film?
The energy, with which he relentlessly changes his appearance, attire and body language over and over again, leaves you gaping at his enthusiasm. You understand the effort behind each look he sports, and wish the slogger had done all these for a more deserving drama.
Rajapattai opens on a promising note. And of course, the theme is relevant in today's scenario — though Seenu's line has nothing much that hasn't been said before. And the freshness in characterisation — the granddad for one — impresses. (Incidentally, Vikram casually addressing the old man as Dakshina is different and appealing.) Sparks of ingenuity here and there ignite interest. Only that these factors don't seem enough to make Rajapattai riveting.
The film teems with thugs, most of them with their crop of hair coloured in bizarre hues, that you aren't quite sure whether you ought to take them seriously! And they aren't even reasonably intelligent. They kidnap a girl and think none can find her, but don't check whether she has a mobile phone on her, before she is locked up! Or is it Suseenthiran's way of taking a dig at henchmen in cinema who are invariably projected as dim-witted hulks? Puzzling, because it is the same maker who gave us the action film Naan Mahaan Alla, with a group of wily baddies trying to corner the hero. The astuteness you found in Suseenthiran's earlier scripts, including Vennila Kabaddi Kuzhu and Azhagarsamiyin Kudhirai, is missing in Rajapattai.
Anal Murugan (Vikram) realises that the rich stranger Dakshinamurthy (K. Viswanath) is in trouble and has to be shielded from his avaricious son. He goes out of his way to help him, also because land grabbers are eying the orphanage run by the old man as lucrative property. But with the agile and robust hero around, it isn't going to be easy.
Deeksha Seth is a new entrant to Tamil. Her lack of chirpiness is all the more obvious because Vikram, with his abundant exuberance, is a complete contrast. Anyway the heroine can only be an appendage in an actioner such as Rajapattai. Most of the time, the good-looking woman politician Ranganayaki (Sana) isn't subtle in her sinister design — her beautiful eyes make her tension and anger even when in a crowd so very evident — shouldn't she have underplayed her emotions in public? Suseenthiran could have directed her better.
Thambi Ramaiah may have a very minor role to play, but in the available screen space and with Bhaskar Shakti's witty dialogue aiding him, he makes his presence felt.
Among Yuvan's numbers ‘Paniyae Pani Poovae' alone passes muster. But his title score makes you nod in appreciation. And not just the Pirates of the Caribbean look that Vikram sports in a song sequence, somewhere you are reminded of the theme music of the Johnny Depp film too. The colours that lend a carnival feel to the solo draw your attention — the props are Rajeevan's.
Vikram's acrobatics in the air and other such danger-courting stunts make him a super hero. And his portrayal with its shades of comedy showcases him yet again as a talented actor. It's the narration that is found wanting. Suseenthiran's screenplay disappoints.
Cast: Vikram, Deeksha Seth, Sana, Thambi Ramaiah
Storyline: A brawny hero with social consciousness teaches the greedy mafia a lesson.
Bottomline: The usual, from a maker known to provide the unusual