SHORT TAKES Entertainment

This 'Sarkar', hardly rules

On screen heroism A scene from Sarkar   | Photo Credit: video grab

Films provide instant, though brief gratification. We pay to watch a protagonist wipe out evildoers and correct social wrongs in a jiffy, fully aware of the reality that awaits us when we emerge from the cool confines of a multiplex. Of late there have been a slew of films about an ‘educated abroad’ youth ascending the political throne and cleaning out corruption in a couple of hours. If it’s not the reluctant son, then it’s someone who’s been wronged. Some like ‘Bharath Ane Nenu’ struck a chord while ‘Nota’ failed. Film stars with political ambitions using cinema as a platform is not uncommon in the South. MGR did it tacitly and achieved his goal with tact though it seemed effortless. People loved him for the empathy he exuded, while for Jayalalitha it was the sympathy that worked since she was looked upon as the protégé who was wronged. NT Rama Rao succeeded, but Chiranjeevi faded away. On-screen heroism is just not enough and fans alone cannot push a star to political power. Women voters are also the trump card. Then there was Dr. Raj Kumar who could have swept any poll effortlessly but decided that affection and love should not be used to attain power only to be misused by kin and clan.

There is a general feeling in Tamil Nadu, not unfounded that politicians and film stars who seemed to suffer from verbal constipation when Jayalalitha was in power have suddenly become vocal. AR Murugadoss or Vijay would not have even dared to conceive leave alone make ‘Sarkar’ if the iron lady had been around. Even if they had managed to it would have rotted in the cans. Jayalalitha had an uneasy equation with Rajni, Kamal and Vijay who was snubbed when he tried to visit her at her summer retreat and request her to clear the hurdles surrounding the release of ‘Thalaivaa’. I’m sure she was not impressed with the title. Her demise has encouraged the three stars to try and fill the huge political vacuum. Vijay of course is still testing the waters, while Rajni is still dithering and Kamal is in the thick of things.

Enemy’s enemy is your friend and so the extremely choosy Vijay green lights a project produced by Sun Pictures and helmed by Murugadoss who’s still being cursed by Mahesh Babu’s fans for spinning a disastrous web called ‘Spyder’. The premise about the importance of a single vote is promising but is used for the hero’s personal propaganda.

People are accused of accepting a pittance to vote while stars earn in crores just to further personal ambitions. The film brazenly attacks the present ruling government which would have been impossible before the end of 2016! Imagine naming the antagonist Komalavalli which was Jayalalitha’s real name! The film is replete with corporate and political innuendo. The ‘hero introduction’ is strange. He’s called Ghengis Khan, a Casanova and a corporate monster who gobbles up companies and renders thousands jobless and homeless.

Hero’s name is Sundar supposedly inspired by Sundar Pichai and his company is called GL. When someone says hero is omnipresent on the net another chirps in that it’s because he owns the search engine. That’s not true about Sundar Pichai, but the similarity ends there. This guy looks like a spoilt brat who has inherited rather than built, smokes incessantly, emerges from a limousine and dances with scantily clad girls in a casino in Las Vegas.

He boards a private jet and lands in India just to cast a vote only to be informed an impersonator has already done it. With the help of his lawyer (by the way he’s called Jethmalani) we’re enlightened about section 49P. He saunters into a private party at a friend’s place and lights up exposing his lack of basic etiquette. Well, a politician’s underling dares him and brat decides to stay back and fight. What follows is a long winding star vehicle of political sermons generously sprinkled with forgettable songs and bones being broken when brains are not being battered. There’s no time for romance so heroine Keerthi Suresh is treated like a junior artiste. I realised subtitles are a good way to overcome verbal censorship. Vajpayee is muted but mentioned in the subtitles!

Politicians wear huge rings with a picture of their leader and also have a photograph peeping through the pockets of their white shirts. There are references to ‘Jalli Kattu’, farmer suicides, a family immolating themselves due to exorbitant interest rates charged by private lenders and even how tomato growers are taken advantage of. The film is mounted on a massive scale. Big budgets mean populating frames even when not necessary.

Vijay is the focal point so none of the other characters are properly fleshed out. The hero is introduced as extremely intelligent but uses muscle more often than grey matter. A politician who’s been in power for fifty years listens like a puppet to political advice from his young daughter living abroad. The humour feels forced and less said about Rahman’s music the better. If I’d written this script like I would have remained anonymous.

This ‘Sarkar’ is simply not fit to rule.

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Printable version | Jun 21, 2021 7:11:33 PM |

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