The Villains of Seemaraja,Saamy Square and Sandakozhi 2

One of the major issues that plague our recent commercial films is the lack of a good villain. In the frenzy to appease fans and create mass, whistle-worthy moments for the star, the villains are short-changed with one-note characters. We are given flimsy stories for the unadulterated ‘evilness’ in our antagonists.

From #Seemaraja to #SaamySquare and the recent #Sandakozhi2, there are no major pay-off moments for the antagonists where they seriously impede the hero’s growth. Commercial films are essentially cat and mouse games. And what’s the fun when you are constantly reminded that it’s the cat who is going to win and the mouse absolutely has no chance?

Hari-Vikram-Keerthy Suresh’s Saamy 2

My thoughts on the 154 minutes that I did watch of #SaamySquare aka #Saamy2 starring #Vikram, #KeerthySuresh, helmed by #Hari

I guess Hari couldn’t decide what he wanted to do with Saamy Square — so he decided to throw in everything. There’s the ‘righteous, progressive cop’. Aaruchamy makes a 15-20 minute cameo and in that brief span manages to give a sermon about caste and how women should be treated with respect. He ‘allows’ his wife Bhuvana (Aishwarya Rajesh) to apply for IAS exams. There’s the ‘I don’t have time for love hero’ Ramaswamy, an IAS aspirant who moonlights as a priest. He doesn’t think twice about slapping Diya (Keerthy Suresh), his potential romantic interest. She is introduced as a straight-forward no-nonsense woman. Now, you would think Hari wants to invest in a romance, after all, he did it in Saamy 1. But he seems to be more happy to give screen space to Soori’s exhausted, vexatious, infuriating ‘jokes’ (He has a theme that goes Maan Maan Shakthi man, maan maan poke maan). As it is with ‘commercial films’, Diya falls in love with Ramaswamy almost instantaneously. And, in a moment, he becomes the sole purpose of her existence — even her clothes are of a single colour, as if it’s a symbol of how her life has been unilaterally streamlined. She says ‘avasarathunala vandha kadhal illa akkarai la vandha kadhal’. Ramaswamy got Diya her favourite milkshake and a dress stitched, that’s it. Since we have been conditioned into expecting this from our mainstream, commercial films even my outrage now feels like an indulgence. Why expect, right? Moving on.

Maybe he wants to create a nuanced film, his version of the Ramayana. There’s Ravana Pitchai (Bobby Simhaa), from Sri Lanka, who is up against Ramaswamy. If Perumal Pitchai was superstitiously attached to his Ambassador car, Ravana Pitchai seems to trust the power of his mother’s ‘chozhi’. But he doesn’t do much justice to this angle apart from a dialogue that refers to the period in exile and disguise. Hari’s version of a ‘disguise’ for Ramaswamy is a brahminical makeover. But again, this becomes a flippant mention on caste. Delhi Ganesh says ‘I didn’t know your father’s caste and hence I brought you up as a brahmin. You don’t need this identity’ And in a couple of minutes, we have Ramaswamy raise a question to a random stranger if people still talk about caste.

Let’s talk about the ambiance, shall we? Constant mentions of Jantar Mantar, a generic coffee shop, tacky VFX, ambient actors reacting in ways you don’t expect them to — maybe Hari thought we wouldn’t notice all this as his films generally feel like they run at 1.25x speed. But we do, painfully so. And when the film ends with ‘Saamy in vettai thodarum’, all I could muster was ‘podhum.’

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