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‘Ulkuthu’ review: the routine don saga

Poster of film ‘Ulkuthu’   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Despite sharp criticism and consciousness-raising by many, the Tamil film industry likes recycling certain stereotypical themes, notions and ideas in movies.  

Fisherfolk and slum dwellers are routinely portrayed as if their neighbourhoods are populated by only henchmen and criminals. Even though filmmaker Caarthick Raju gives a clever spin to dull scenes, Ulkuthu is yet another film which disappointingly reinforces these stereotypes.  

This is a rather basic Tamil ‘don’ film that raises simple questions about why the protagonist Raja (actor Dinesh) takes on a feared don Kaaka Mani (Sharath Lohitashwa) living in a fishing hamlet and kills his son, Saravanan (Dhilip Subbarayan), before answering them one by one in the second half. It is obvious that such plots and themes would evoke considerable fatigue, but Caarthick’s treatment turns this unimaginative, dull plot into a barely watchable film. 

Movie: Ulkuthu
  • Director: Caarthick Raju 
  • Cast: Dinesh, Nandita Swetha, Dhilip Subbarayan, Sharath Lohitashwa, Bala Saravanan 
  • Plot: Raja takes on a feared don Kaaka Mani and his son, Saravanan, on their own turf. 
  • Bottomline: Clever writing cannot save this unimaginative, uninspiring storyline.
 

The film begins very badly. The first 20 minutes of the film are about how Raja befriends Sura Shankar (Bala Saravanan), who plays a slightly less-funnier version of ‘Naai Sekar’ — a character that was immortalised by actor Vadivelu in Thalainagaram — and becomes a part of life in the fishing hamlet.  

Just when the film starts stitching together banal comedy and love tracks, Caarthick gives major plot points an ingenious spin, always giving us the opposite of what we expect before the eventual pay off.  

For instance, when we expect Kaaka Mani to murder Raja, after he humiliates his son Saravanan (played quite admirably by Dhilip Subbarayan), Caarthick resolves the tension between them by turning them into friends. There are several instances in the film that are rescued in this manner, but then, one can only do so much when the spine of the film is so monotonous.  

Clever writing aside, the film never really holds attention beyond a point, simply because of the uninspired storyline. Though he excels in stunt sequences, Dinesh, who gave a memorable performance in films such as Visaranai, somehow seems very uncomfortable in this film. Bala Saravanan’s comedy evokes some laughs and keeps the film going.  

At the end of the film, one cannot help but think that this film — if at all it deserves to be made in the first place — should have been done by a slightly bigger star, who is comfortable in a film where he is all powerful and invincible. After acting in movies such as Visaranai, one wishes that Dinesh focuses on movies that challenge him and his abundant talent, instead of movies that present a significant challenge to the audience.  

  


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Printable version | Nov 27, 2021 12:14:30 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/movies/ulkuthu-review-the-routine-don-saga/article22327876.ece

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