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