Cast: Santhanam, Vaibhavi Shandilya, Vivekh, Sampath
Director: GL Sethuraman
This week belongs to the comedians who’ve painstakingly risen up the ladder to become lead actors and with Sakka Podu Podu Raja, Santhanam has attempted to don the garb of an action hero.
Let’s begin with the positives of the film as it’ll be a more concise list. Silambarasan, who has debuted as a music director with this film, has done a really good job. His Kadhal Devathai track is catchy and the other songs are equally hum-worthy. Santhanam has never looked this sophisticated before and his costumes and hairdo team clearly had better discussions than those who worked on the story. His dance moves too have comparatively become better. Cinematography by Abinandhan Ramanujam is colourful. It’s evident that they’ve played with the colours and it’s refreshing to the sight.
SPPR must’ve seemed like a pucca commercial film with a good dosage of action, romance and humour on paper, but it hasn’t translated well on screen. A smart man, who falls in love with a girl from a family of rowdies, gains the trust of the family only to get their blessings and make it look like they’re bringing the couple together. You might wonder why I’m talking about the Dhanush starrer Uthamaputhiran here but unfortunately, this is the exact story of SPPR. But we are told that SPPR is a remake of Telugu film, Loukyam.
Santhanam plays the role of Santa (the time spent on coming up with this name and the story must’ve been the same I suppose), who follows the age-old style of falling in love at first sight with Yazhini (Vaibhavi Shandilya). The comedian-turned-lead actor looks out of place in the romance and action sequences and lacks the charisma one would expect from a ‘hero’. They don’t even care to establish the background of the character. Most of the time, he goes around the heroine in his Harley, looking suave in designer clothes and coolers. Otherwise, he keeps running, in the name of fight sequences.
The characterisation of Yazhini is even more archaic. She’s one of those rich brats who rags guys in her college. The last time I saw a heroine doing that in a film, it was on a VHS tape. Not to mention the scene where she tries to make our hero ‘fall in her trap’ by donning a two-piece. And oh, that doesn’t happen before she utters the line, “Two piece potutu vanthu avan mind-a piece piece-ah akuren paaru.” The icing on the cake must be the quintessential dialogue by our hero ‘advising’ the girl on …. how to be a girl. “Pattu thuni, panju, ponnunga, soft-ah irrukanum,” says Santa in a scene — of course, after the customary slap. And the heroine is obviously meant to fall in love despite all this and she does so after Santa carries her up a flight of stairs to the temple. This is a scene straight from Chennai Express.
But what irked me more was the under-usage of Vivekh who barely gets the time to get you laughing. It could also probably be because of the fact that almost all the best one-liners from the film were used in the trailer. Talking about comedy, for the number of comedians in the film — including Robo Shankar and Powerstar Srinivasan, the humour portions are rather deficient. Some scenes from the trailer didn’t even make the final cut.
There is nothing in the film to get hooked on and even if you manage to find something interesting, it’s messed up by a misplaced song. Considering the film is from the makers of Lollu Sabha, I was left wondering why they didn’t make SPPR a spoof film. The title of the film is a con job, and given how much we pay for tickets these days, not everyone is able to run away from trouble as fast as Santa!