Lionising the hero in every way possible and Mr. Invincible living up to it, the heroine pining for his love, the three-duet syndrome, a vociferous villain, a comedy track … nothing about Singam (U/A) is new. Yet, patterned like the MGR films of the 1960s, Kamal's commercial outings of the 80s, Rajinikanth's staple of the same era and some of Vikram's present-day bonanzas, Singam proves another strong contender for the winning slot in the action-entertainer category. Hari turns up trumps with a particularly racy screenplay that you forget the clichés in the exercise and enjoy the fun. Singam is Hari's own Saamy, refurbished. His acumen in making an oft-seen cop tale work at the box office deserves to be lauded. Hari's screenplay is the king in Singam!

Hari and Suriya come together once again after Aaru and Vael — as far as pace goes, Singam, their third, is easily the best.

Duraisingam (Suriya) is a reluctant member of the police force — he prefers taking care of his dad's grocery store instead. But once on the job, he proves infallible. Fate brings the cantankerous Mayilvaganan (Prakash Raj) to the small town of Nallur. Singam is the inspector at the police station there. Like all baddies, initially Mayilvaganan doesn't realise the power of Singam's brain and brawn. And when he does, it's too late.

Suriya shows that be it a performance-oriented role or a formulaic concoction he can deliver. Vim and vigour mark the hero's enactment. Anushka, the Telugu screen siren has struck gold, albeit in a role that is at least four decades old, after her initial appearances in Rendu and Vaettaikkaaran. You feel sorry for Prakash Raj — he opens with a don's usual, haughty rigmarole only to bite the dust in the end. All the same, he adds zing to villainy in characteristic style. Why don't directors give him roles that are less predictable?

Like in all Hari films you have a battalion for a cast that the screen looks overcrowded most of the time. Among them ‘Bose' Venkat as the able aide of Singam does a neat job. Vivek's character of ‘Erimalai' tickles but it is time his comedy-track writer has a re-think about the innuendos.

Singam doesn't have dull moments, yet Suriya's monologues to his opponents could have been pruned. Editor V.T. Vijayan's contribution to the pace of Singam deserves mention. Like in most of our films, the henchmen here still go around brandishing cumbersome sickles and scythes! The lion superimposed on the hero whenever he bashes up the villains is rather funny. I mean, the relevance needn't be dinned into!

Devi Sriprasad's ‘Naanae Indiran …' has a distinct heard-before feel and the numbers in general are typically Sriprasad. The composer rarely plumps for melodies — ‘En Idhayam …' is a slight exception. Baba Sehgal's perfect Tamil pronunciation in the ‘Kaadhal Vandhaale' number is astounding!

Suriya has astutely gone in for a cocktail of action, anger, sentiment and romance for his 25th film to satisfy every stratum of the film-going public.

Formula fare, but one that doesn't sag anywhere!

Genre: Action

Director: Hari

Cast: Suriya, Prakash Raj, Anushka, Vivek

Storyline: Of a dutiful cop and a diabolical land shark …

Bottomline: Racy screenplay overrides formula

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