Character actor Vijay Sethupathi has delivered once again.
In his first foray as an all-out action hero in the movie of his namesake “Sethupathi”, the much respected actor has proven that he is indeed the rising star of Indian Cinema.
Vijay Sethupathi is an actor of substance, who was known more for his brilliant portrayals in trend setting films like Soodhu Kavum where he played a 45-year-old kidnapper with a paunch and grey hair.
He has been more than willing to do unusual films like playing the Pizza delivery boy in the thriller hit Pizza, and as a guy with short term memory loss in the comedy entertainer, Naduvula Konjam Pakkattha Kannom. With the slapstick comedy Idharkuthane Aasapattai Balakumara, he came across as an actor who could reinvent the stereotypical hero image in Tamil cinema.
Unlike the mostly grave character roles in previous movies, Sethupathi has proven that he is also at home playing the somewhat clichéd character of a straight forward and honest cop. Or rather as an “angry man” hero persona which which goes down well with the masses these days.
The basic plot of the movie is about hard-working cop Sethupathi who has proven to be a cop who is feared by all and is in line for a promotion as the next Assistant Superintendent in his hometown.
But things go awry when he runs into Vaathiyar (played by Vela Ramamoorthy), the main villain in director SU Arunkumar’s Sethupathi. Will Sethupathi, the inspector prove him wrong, fighting all the frame ups and hurdles thrown at him by the villain? This is the basic premise of the film.
Arunkumar has sketched the characters well enough in that each of the movie’s personalities on their own seem to have the charisma to invoke interest among the audiences. Be it Vijay Sethupathi’s bold, authoritative personality or Ramya Nambeesan’s dutiful, witty, smart persona as his wife or Vaathiyar’s composure, shrewdness and maliciousness, the director has taken time in sketching each character distinctly.
Vijay Sethupathi’s part as a father is also well defined and executed. The two kids brim with pleasant innocence, and turn out energetic performances.
Vijay Sethupathi’s majestic screen presence and his command over the role certainly boosts the movie big time, and his cute playful interaction with his children and wife has the audience vouching for its feel-good factor.
This certainly has to be credited to the music director, Nivas K. Prasanna, as his soothing and delightful BGMs offer a melodious insight into the personal life of a cop, in the most romantic way possible. “Mazhai Thooralam” glorifies the hardships and difficulties faced by a policeman, albeit his inclination towards his family and job, in a perfect manner. “Hawa Hawa” and “Konji pesida venaam” are also perfect melodies, as Prasanna has hit the right notes with his music.
The screenplay becomes racier at the start of the second half, as untoward incidents happen in the life of Sethupathi. The Villain plays with the mind of the cop, and the placement of the “Hey Mama” song at this juncture is commendable. Also a cop story without much fanfare and logic defying action sequences, is a relief, although certain cliches could have been avoided.
The character selection for the villain role could also have been better as “Vaathiyar” does not evoke as much hatred, as needed to carry the movie plot.
All that considered, Sethupathi has a few downsides too.
The movie holds the attention of the audiences rather too loosely. Despite its 121 minute run, the movie feels too long and leisurely paced, owing to its tried and tested story template. While it is mostly good to have a simple story, in a movie like Sethupathi that has had predecessors with similar tales, a bit more complexity, depth or a difference in the narrative could have killed the déjà vu.
To sum up on a positive note, Sethupathi is still an enjoyable entertainer, with power packed performance from Vijay Sethupathi, who once again manages to pull through a movie solely on his shoulders.
In all it is fair to say, the movie deserves a 3 out of 5 marks.
Review by N. Subramaniam