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‘Mr Local’ review: Sivakarthikeyan holds this predictable fare together

Sivakarthikeyan and Nayanthara in ‘Mr Local’

Sivakarthikeyan and Nayanthara in ‘Mr Local’   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Surely, it was only going to be a matter of time before director Rajesh and Sivakarthikeyan joined hands. The combination has a lot going for it – Rajesh’s liking for light-hearted sequences, the ones that we still diligently watch on television, was always going to be a good match with Sivakarthikeyan’s sensibilities.

Mr Local, the recent offering to come out of this happy marriage, is filled with things that we expect. The issue is that it does only that.

Manohar (Sivakarthikeyan) is not very different from Rajesh’s earlier protagonists Siva (Siva Manasula Sakthi), and Baskaran (Boss Engira Baskaran), except for the fact that he has a job. He works in what looks to be a posh car company, but his environs are still very middle-class. Back home, he still wears a lungi and jovially fights with his sister.

But that is not the brawl that Mr Local wants to focus on. Its intention is to zoom in on the Tom-and-Jerry-like relationship between Manohar and Keerthana (Nayanthara) – one that kickstarts in the most likeliest of places: the traffic signal. It’s a sign, I suppose, of things to come – Mr Local is as predictable as we thought it would be.

Mr Local
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Cast: Sivakarthikeyan, Nayanthara, Radhikaa, Yogi Babu
  • Storyline: What happens when a middle-class man clashes with a rich CEO?

But that is not such a bad thing, especially when we have Yogi Babu and Satish holding fort in the first half and dishing out some admittedly-funny hero’s-best-friend comedy lines. Robo Shankar is wasted, but the other two ensure that we don’t miss Santhanam, one of the highlights in most of Rajesh’s films.

The director might have done well to focus on the comedy, because when he gets into serious zone – the tiff-off between the lead pair, and the subsequent romance – it starts trailing off. Mr Local tries to keep the stars as equals, but it never comes off that way...Sivakarthikeyan, thanks to his goofy expressions, always scores a tad more than Nayanthara, who ends up looking stiff and uptight. Radhikaa, however, scores as a very-relatable mother to Sivakarthikeyan – watching her play a character obsessed with TV soaps does bring a smile to your face.

Sivakarthikeyan’s presence just about manages to hold Mr Local together. It’s a near-perfect film for him – one that rides more on his dialogue delivery rather than emotion and action (when will filmmakers ditch the two mandatory fight sequences that just exists for the heck of it?). He seems to have worked on his dancing skills as well – there are some neat steps in the Hip Hop Adhi-composed ‘Kalakkal’ and ‘Takkunu Takkunu’ numbers – but the songs are all just fillers and contribute little to carry the story forward, which was anyway wafer-thin in the first place.

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Printable version | Aug 10, 2020 12:33:27 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/movies/mr-local-review-sivakarthikeyan-holds-this-predictable-fare-toegether/article27159301.ece

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