Singam

During the many fight sequences in Singam, a common move employed by the hero is to leap up several feet and almost pounce on the hapless goon in question. While doing that, he brings his fist down with considerable force (Mass of fist * 9.8m/sec^2 * Aggro factor) on said goon, thereby reducing the latter to a pulpy mess. At the precise moment when his fist is about to land on its target, his face (already made scary through a big moustache and the fiercest expression Surya can muster) is morphed for a split second into that of a lion — the singam in the title.

while (readers find coat hanger to suspend disbelief on)

{     

     wait();     

     ask(Is this the Universe’s way of balancing out the anthropomorphism in Rama Narayanan’s movies?);    

    wait_some_more();

}

Now, the premise isn’t entirely hopeless. It has a villain who has managed to keep himself off the law enforcement radar while running a thriving extortion/kidnapping business. A big part of his plan is to extort money from people who have recently come into ill-gotten gains, thereby making it difficult for them to complain to the authorities. (Not entirely foolproof, but not a bad plan either.) Of course, he manages to get into trouble eventually and runs into an honest cop in a small village. You can fill in the rest.

This could’ve been an engrossing film about a smart villain and a honest cop and the business of kidnapping — the sort of movie Anjaathe wanted to be, for instance. But make no mistake — this isn’t a movie with good intentions that lost its way. This is a movie that chooses, very consciously, to be the sort whose USP is the lion-morphing bit I spoke of earlier.

Everything about the script and the treatment screams “Vijay potboiler”. (As it happens, that hero’s pot seems to be on a slow simmer, not very good news for his fans.) The only difference is that they took the script to the wrong hero. Try as he might to be convincing in this role, Surya’s performance here is hamstrung by our memories of his better roles.

Prakash Raj, on the other hand, has managed to create two entirely distinct identities for himself. One is as a wonderful character actor whose presence graces films as diverse as Kanjeevaram, Iruvar and Abhiyum Naanum. The other is as a rabid dog villain who goes cheerfully over the top in films such as Villu. Strangely enough, had the treatment been different, this role could’ve added to the former list of films rather than the latter.

On the sidelines are Anushka Shetty, who seems to be cashing in on her newfound success by doing the Tamil hero circuit — Vijay, Surya, Vikram etc. (Okay, that didn’t come out quite right.) She looks good. Since that is all she is required to do, I’m not going to bother commenting on anything else.

For comic relief of the dirty kind, there’s Vivek, whose every second of screen time smacks of desperation. When a significant fraction of your jokes involve spoofing another comedian, it’s time for you to try some other profession. Welding, maybe.

As for Hari, the writer-director at the helm of this monstrosity, zoo-keeper might be a more appropriate choice.

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5 thoughts on “Singam

  1. 'Mass' Appeal? says:

    “Everything about the script and the treatment screams Vijay potboiler” — hey what about the tailored-for-Vijay title, man? Isn’t “Singam” right up there with Pokkiri and Vettaikaaran, nomenclature-wise?

    In fact, it would’ve made for the perfect follow-up to the latter in a “Man hunting animal-masquerading-as-Man” segues to “Man-hunting animal, masquerading as Man” sort of way (if your morphology bit is to be believed).

    I’m sure much disappointment lies in store once I stumble upon this DVD at the store. Mainly coz “Surya’s performance here is hamstrung by our memories of his better roles” aka the awesomeness that’s Ayan!

    Sorry, but I (too) can’t imagine Surya in something like Singam. Cha! What was Mister Zookeeper Moonlighting As Director thinking? (Assuming he was even thinking.)

    Btw, muchas LOL @ the algorithm accurately articulating this atrocity.

  2. Did you watch Vijay’s films since Pokiri? (I caught Kuruvi and ATM only) You know the kind of way you go “WTF” and in the end it’s all headache inducing? I don’t feel that way with Surya’s masala films. Not with Ayan, not with Singam. Didn’t catch Aadhavan but. Singam was quite enjoyable I thought.

    But good Surya is doing a Ram Gopal Varma film and Vikram, a Selvaraghavan film. I was afraid we were gonna lose both to the Vijay school.

    • 'Mass' Appeal says:

      Adi, you’re right on the money. Vijay films since Pokkiri = total sodhappals (rife with “WTF moments” as you put it). ATM was the only exception, IMO. Kuruvi was horrible. Villu, hideous. Vettaikaaran otoh was salvaged by Her Anushkaness who boldly went where no bimbo has gone before. (She basically showed up and said, “Move over, bimbos”!) In my book, she’s the heroine Vijay movies didn’t know they were missing (not to be confused with Vijay-movie heroines going a missing, post-intermission; that’s a template, not talent issue). Hope she sticks around.

      Agree also that Surya movies are the better overall package, coz Surya *is* the better overall package (acting-wise, looks-wise, ‘range of movies’-wise…), but Vijay has his (an)tics that you either find endearing or annoying.

      I’m in the former camp. So no matter how migraine-inducing his movie, he makes sure to rub Amrutanjan on my forehead ever so often. And I’m delusion enough to find that “attention” immensely comforting. You know the drill. 😀

      That said, I’ll take a “Vel” over a “Villu” any day. Unless they let the Tamil-movie Gods do the occasional “weapon” swap (as they ostensibly did in Singam, with Surya running with a script-weapon stamped Vijay all over it).

      Wait a minute, didn’t I say earlier that I can’t imagine Surya in something like Singam? Well, I changed my mind (one can do that, no?) after boss opened my eyes to the all-important fact that it takes 2 to (swap scripts so men can) define “mass” 3 ways: as a property of matter, a Church congregation, and a B&C center audience.

  3. Shobana says:

    Hey Singam was enjoyable nevertheless! Was never able to sit through any Vijay hits though ! So was Surya who made the difference ?

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