There’s a belief that one needs to walk into the cinema hall with absolute open-mindedness. I disagree with this theory. You are subconsciously tuned to expect a certain kind of movie from a certain kind of filmmaker. And you get a sense of relief about your judgemental skills, especially when the bar you set for the movie is really low, and it does live up to your expectations. Market Raja MBBS leaves you with a lot more questions than answers. The first obvious question being: Why Saran, why now? What do you imply by titling your movie, Market Raja MBBS ? Are you suggesting that it is about a Vasool-ist, Raja, who shows up at sabatha queue, in a quest to become a doctor? But, wouldn’t that be a convenient rip-off of Vasool Raja MBBS ? Or could it be the rise of an underdog story, wherein an underprivileged guy from a local market gets an admit at a prestigious medical college? Saran rejects all my hypothesis by cooking up a singularly pointless movie. In Market Raja ’s universe, every character is named after industry stalwarts — from Sivaji Ganesan and Nagesh to Chandrababu and MR Radha. Like the characters’ names, the movie’s premise is dated and unoriginal.
- Cast: Arav, Radhika Sarathkumar, Kavya Thapar, Nasser and Rohini
- Director: Saran
- Storyline: A gangster thriller? A horror-comedy? A cutesy romantic drama? You never know
It centres around the life of a market don Raja (Arav, whose wooden face doesn’t help) — reminding you of Saran’s own Gemini . Raja gets involved in the underbelly of politics and does cartoonish stuff, screaming to take him for a ‘serious’ don. There’s another subplot with an innocent college dude Chandrababu (picture Sambumavan from Vasool Raja MBBS ), who falls for the heroine (Kavya Thapar), who, in turn, is charmed by the cockiness of Market Raja. Only in Tamil cinema do you find heroines falling for rowdies, smugglers, drug peddlers and every criminal whose photos you’ll find on the notice board of J2 police station. Chandrababu dies in an encounter gone wrong and his spirit miraculously enters Raja’s body. Had it been a parody on Tamil cinema’s lame practises, I might have laughed for 10 minutes straight. But it isn’t. Market Raja neither has the charm of Gemini , nor the innocence of Vasool Raja MBBS ( or the chills of Muni which Saran produced.)
It’s sad that Saran, who once gave terrific masala movies — Amarkalam , Gemini and even Vasool Raja MBBS — has lost his tricks. There’s no coherence in the screenplay and no correlation in the way the scenes are written: the entire movie plays out like a series of unedited footages from his own movies. Had Vasool Raja MBBS lacked a script and the towering contribution of Kamal Haasan and Crazy Mohan, the end product would look something like Market Raja MBBS . Sitting through this almost three-hour long movie, I reassessed my purpose of existence and I’m considering the option of consulting a legit MBBS-holder for once.