Sarkar, AR Murugadoss’s new film starring Vijay and Keerthy Suresh, is a socio-political thriller in name, but the movie is really is a long pep rally for its lead actor’s political ambitions. An interesting premise (that was the subject of a plagiarism controversy) is ruined by loose screenwriting. The screenplay – by Murugadoss – pays lip service to a litany of problems facing Tamil Nadu, and much like Mahesh Babu’s Srimanthudu, comes up with a solution that involves the hero beating up thugs belonging to the opposite camp while talking to the camera. But if Vijay does take the plunge into politics, the movie could be an important milestone, so here is a handy alphabetical primer to Sarkar.
A: AR Murugadoss, the screenwriter and director of Sarkar, who has continued to battle plagiarism allegations around his scripts. Also, AR Rahman, the composer of Sarkar. And for good measure, Ayodhya Kuppam, where Vijay begins his political campaign in the movie.
B: Band Aids and bandages, which are the second most used costume in the movie. Also the salt-and-pepper Beard that Vijay sports in the movie, to lend him gravitas. The hasty Background score in the movie, the highlight of which was when the composer plays Yelelo and other fishermen music tropes when the hero talks about his background.
C: Canada, where Varalaxmi Sarathkumar spends much of her time talking to her evil politician dad on her phone. Also evil Corporates, like tomato ketchup companies, that exploit farmers. And don’t forget, Corporate Criminal, which is what the hero calls himself.
D: The Driver of the hero’s car – who wonders why the hero could spend a lot of money on lawyers, but a family had to immolate itself over 25,000 rupees. A familiar scene for anyone who has taken an auto-ride in Chennai. Deepavali, which is the biggest festival of the year, when top heroes release their movies. Sarkar has a clear field this year, with no other star vehicles to compete with.
E: Elections, which play an important role in the movie. Also, the Election Commission, led by someone named TN Chari.
F: Fibonacci sequence, which is what every group of villains follows when attacking the hero. First 1 attacker, then another one. Then 2, then 3. Then a lot more. Funny, what Yogi Babu is capable of being. Also funny, what Yogi Babu is not in Sarkar.
G: GL Corporation, which the hero is the CEO of when he lands in Chennai to cast his vote. Also see S for Sundar Ramasamy. But really, Guns, which if they had existed here, would have resulted in the movie ending unceremoniously after the first stunt sequence. Ghajini, which was the name of another movie that Murugadoss conceived and wrote all by himself. Haha.
H: The howling that Rahman uses for much of the background score. And How Vijay continues to pick the most inane scripts to act in. Harbour, the constituency which Pazha Karuppaiah represented in the Tamil Nadu Assembly. He plays the villain in the movie.
I: Immolation, that one family indulges in when fleeced by a money lender. Leads to scenes where the hero can sympathize with a young burn victim. Interruptions, from phone calls. A TV show anchor suddenly answers his cellphone. A Governor suddenly answers his during a swearing in ceremony. And “Internet Scan,” a tool which can apparently be used to vet political candidates.
J: The protests in Tamil Nadu over Jallikattu that every star with political ambitions now wants to namecheck. Also, J Jayalalithaa, the former Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, whose death has led to many stars having political ambitions now.
K: Kandu Vatti (Or Meter Vatti), the practice of charging high interest rates that prevails in Tamil Nadu, a practice that everyone hates. Also might as well mention another former chief minister M Karunanidhi, whose death has also led to many stars having political ambitions now.
J/K: Just Kidding.
L: Local Tamizh, that the hero is quizzed in by Yogi Babu and passes with flying colors. Lyca Productions, the original producer of the movie, who backed out due to “budget issues.” That the movie has a high-budget is clearly obvious because many of the cars destroyed are Benz cars. Take that, you poor Sumo driving villains.
M: Masilamani, the evil politician who has a lot of money to buy everything but guns. And how the CBFC Mutes the most inane of things: Vajpayee’s name is muted, Indira Gandhi’s name is muted.
N: Nila, which is what Keerthy Suresh is named in the movie. Nothing, which is what her character does in the movie. Namechecking. Nearly every problem that Tamil Nadu’s youth have protested against is listed. The Thoothukudi protests. Jallikattu. Farmer suicides. The sand mafia.
O: Original, which Murugadoss’s scripts don’t seem to be. Oversimplification, which the script indulges in when proposing solutions for problems.
P: Paapa, Varalaxmi Sarathkumar’s character in the movie. She spends the entire first half (see C) talking on the phone from various shopping destinations in Canada. Political rally, which much of the movie is. Plagiarism.
Q: The election line Queue where Vijay runs into Keerthy Suresh. And his list of unanswered Questions is what leads him to up his ante against Masilamani. Qutub-E-Kripa, AR Rahman’s band of musicians who composed the background score for the movie along with him.
R: Rendu, which is Radha Ravi’s name in the movie. #Rendu could also refer to his recent public pronouncements on #MeToo.
S: Sarees, which Varalaxmi starts sporting when she comes to India. The switch seems to make her a more evil villain. The Social Science lessons that AR Murugadoss provides in the movie (49-O and 49-P anyone?).
T: Tamil, which Varalaxmi Sarathkumar butchers and eats for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The Thoothukudi protests, which we’ll namecheck as well. Tylenol, which is among the random list of medicines she asks her dad to take. Brandy, which she recommends he try. PSA people, don’t take Tylenol with alcohol.
U: The UIDAI, whose Aadhaar gets mentioned repeatedly in the movie. The hero’s ideas for vetting his candidates – and how mainstream and accepted lack of online privacy in India is – are troubling.
V: Vijay, a promising actor who has decided that his swagger is going to win him more Votes than acting prowess. Every Vote is important in a democracy, which is the premise of the movie.
W: WhatsApp. Facebook Live. Twitter. Instagram. And other social media tools that are used extensively in the movie to get Vijay’s message across. And the driver (see D) talks about WhatsApp warriors. The token White people that form Vijay’s entourage.
X: Xylophone? Here’s hoping Rahman used one.
Y: Yogi Babu, who is a drab, unfunny and wasted presence in the movie.
Z: Zero, which is Murugadoss’s awareness of Corporate culture. The meetings at the beginning of the movie are nonsensical, with a CEO of a corporation calling all his employees to tell them he is worried about another CEO visiting the country. Also, Zzzzz.
The Sarkar review is a Silverscreen original article. It was not paid for or commissioned by anyone associated with the movie. Silverscreen.in and its writers do not have any commercial relationship with movies that are reviewed on the site.