Sangathamizhan: A total misadventure

Kollywood seems to have caught a ‘Farmer fever’ in 2019. So many of the prominent films this year have dealt with the theme and it’s another matter altogether that they’ve made caricatures out of it. Vijay Sethupathy’s latest venture Sangathamizhan, directed by Vijay Chandar, uses agriculture as a major tool to take its story forward. The masala genre hasn’t been kind to Sethupathy (or maybe he just isn’t picking good commercial scripts) so far and hence, I was skeptical about this film.

Murugan (Sethupathy) is a wannabe actor who wants to excel in comedy roles. His sidekick Soori (Soori) is also an aspiring actor who wishes to be a lead hero. Murugan, who is poor falls in love with Kamalini (Raashi Khanna) who is, you guessed it, a rich girl. Her father (Ravi Kishan) is a wealthy industrialist and he gets the shock of his life when he meets Murugan. He is reminded of Tamizh (Sethupathy), a social activist of a village in Theni.

Kamalini’s father and Kuzhandaivel (Ashutosh Rana) had earlier plotted to murder Tamizh and his family. Now, on seeing a doppelganger, they decide to use Murugan in their ploy to set up a Copper factory in Theni. It was Tamizh’s leadership that had denied the corporates an entry into the village and with this newly devised plan (which is as old as the hills), the antagonist duo focus on completing their mission. Will Murugan fall prey to the trap? What are the issues that forced Tamizh to revolt?

Vijay Chandar’s filmography as a director is anything but impressive. His debut Vaalu with Silambarasan got released years after lying in the cans and hence, bore an understandably jaded look. Likewise, Sketch, featuring Vikram was another average fare. Sangathamizhan is his worst outing till date and that’s saying something, given that he has already made poor films.

The basic plot, although clichéd is manageable for a commercial potboiler but in such cases, a taut screenplay is a must. That’s something Chandar hasn’t had in any of his films and in Sangathamizhan, it’s pretty much downhill all the way. Vijay Sethupathy rarely disappoints in terms of his performances and he does try hard at appearing focused on screen. But with such a shoddy script, he can only do so much. The heroines merely serve as eye candy while there isn’t anything notable about the rest of the cast.

Sethupathy’s dual acts are one of the very few bright spots in the film and the final twist (which again is an old trick) works. However, Chandar doesn’t seem concerned about the film’s totality as there are several sequences that do not add anything substantial to the narrative. The forced comedy sequences and songs further spoil the narrative.

We’ve come to love Sethupathy for the unconventional choices that he has been making in terms of content-driven films. While he seems to revel in that zone, the ‘Makkal Selvan’ definitely needs a rethink on his strategy when it comes to commercial potboilers. For such a genre, you need to have boundless energy on-screen and charisma, both of which aren’t Sethupathy’s strong points. His attitude on-screen is mostly laidback and while he won’t disappoint in his performance, it’s unlikely that he can lift a mass film with his presence.

This is where Sethupathy needs to draw a line and be smarter about his film selections. He seems to be constantly picking the wrong scripts in this genre and it’s time that he took it seriously, like he does with his author-backed projects. As for Vijay Chandar, he needs to catch the bus to 2020 at the earliest because at this rate, he is self-destructing.

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