Tamil Reviews

Karuppan Review: A Tedious ‘Rural-Entertainer’ That Rides Solely On Vijay Sethupathi’s Performance

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Karuppan is a tiresome rehash of every other ‘rural’ commercial entertainer we’ve seen over the past decade. If not for the charismatic presence of its male lead, Vijay Sethupathi as Karuppan, and some amusing bits of comedy from Singam Puli, Karuppan would be a needless exercise in filmmaking.

As it stands, the film with its tedious notions of masculinity and Tamil pride belongs to a different era altogether. In the present climate though, this film and others of its ilk are a sobering reminder that movies elevating caste pride still exist.

Vijay Sethupathi plays Karuppan, a man’s man who can tame bulls with ease. His weakness for liquor means that much of his good work is overlooked. At a Jallikattu event, he tames the bull easily, and is given Anbu’s (Tanya Ravichandran) hand in marriage.

With little to recommend him in the marital stakes, except perhaps his propensity to tame bulls, Karuppan has a difficult time winning over Anbu.

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But, soon, she too gives in.

It’s all predictable with D Imman songs running in the background, and rain sequences. Meanwhile, Vijay Sethupathi has the time of his life shaking his leg to iconic songs of MGR, Sivaji Ganesan, Vijay and Ajith Kumar. Turns out even an actor of Vijay Sethupathi’s calibre is not beyond milking the popularity of such top stars to get ahead.

But, you have to give it to the actor. As a wastrel with his heart in the right place, the actor gives an unabashed performance. The others with him though, are content to coast along on his performance.

Also good is the fact that the actor tries to bring some amount of political correctness to this film. He takes a firm stand against eve-teasing, pornography and many such issues. The man says he will only marry Anbu if she wishes to (even as his associates plan to kidnap her), and that’s a win.

But, by large, all this is drowned out by the incessant chauvinism and patriarchy on display in the film. The people and the lands of Karuppan are violent and bloodthirsty. And it is definitely a big minus that the director chooses to glorify this aspect.

Despite Vijay Sethupathi’s efforts, this village drama sits ill at ease on his shoulders. There’s not much to recommend it (the editing by VT Vijayan could’ve been better – there’s a lot to chop in here) and Bobby Simha is criminally underused.

It’s nice to see Pasupathy after a long time, but even that novelty wears off when you see him as a man willing to give away his sister in marriage to a man who is (by all counts) a wastrel.

But, that’s the way these films roll.

One would be hard pressed to find differences between Karuppan and the many movies of Muthiah (Komban, Kutty Puli). 

*****

The Karuppan 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.

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