A R Murugadoss’s Sarkar (2018) Movie Review
Star Cast: Joseph Vijay, Keerthy Suresh, Varalaxmi Sarathkumar, Radha Ravi, Tulasi Shivamani, and Yogi Babu.
Cinematography by Girish Gangadharan
Edited by Sreekar Prasad
Music Composed by A R Rahman
Directed by A R Murugadoss
Censor Certificate: UA and Runtime: 164 Minutes.
Whenever I am in doubt, I refer to some of the old movies all the time. Today, before writing this piece, I just checked when was the first time a political scenario has been discussed in South Language films. The shocking fact is that in the early 1950‘s itself, there were movies that talked about how the new Government is not up to their wishes. Even after 60 years, we are still trying to figure out if our system is right? If politicians can work without being selfish? Questions remain and even AR Murugadoss turned out to have unrealistic and amateurish solutions.
Yes, Politicians have become corrupt to the core. Yes, citizens of India mostly are voting if they feel there is a hope for change or for selfish reasons (caste, creed, religion, money, and pleasures). Adding to it, even Government officials who can work independent of people in power have got accustomed to pleasing the power mongers and their egos. No one has to entirely describe them elaborately as we celebrate people who work selflessly because being selfish became NORMAL. But just showing this situation again can make up for a solution? Can just discussion about it make us aware? Can speeches win us over so much that we change in minutes?
AR Murugadoss should have questioned himself about the possibility of making a movie that tries to be grounded like Yuva, idealistic like Mudhalvan (Oke Okkadu) before writing his simple idea as a script. His idea is just that what if a powerful egoistic person’s vote gets cast without his knowledge which is a common phenomenon in the majority of elections with poor people. There was an incident in 1991 when Sivaji Ganesan couldn’t cast his vote as someone else already cast it, before he arrived. This premise is ideal in a situation where the ballot is a reality and voter id is absent. People used to go around houses to distribute their voter identity slip and at times, that used to be the identity card for a voter to cast his/her vote, during those days.
In a computer-dominated world, a poor person’s vote or a dead person’s or even an absentee’s vote can be cast by others but it’s not so easy. The way we see a CEO that world fears and is said to be the pride of the Nation’s vote goes missing itself becomes a big farce. Normally, politicians would rally around such person to pamper him and get extra indirect mileage. Here, they don’t even know about him. When an NRI can use Postal ballot or vote by letter, why should he or she fly all the way to the polling station? In 2017, the Indian Government passed a bill allowing for proxy and e-voting for NRIs. So, the premise itself is a fiction and it could have been more believable had he come for a meeting or a family function and then gave importance to casting his vote due to a challenge or even for his conscience. It doesn’t appear outlandish then. But this is just the beginning.
From there, we go to another scene where an election commissioner decides to hold elections again in just 15 days where we get to know that 3.35 lakhs votes have been cast wrongly. In such cases, the whole local election commission will be dissolved and Central Government takes over the reigns as they will be answerable at the Global stage with democracy being at stake, openly. Also, when a popular celebrity on the International level is speaking against a local government or system, entire Nation will be seen in bad light, so Centre will try to focus on the issue more. Even Corporate lobby will try to rally with the most successful person so that they can attain future benefits. But here we see none such real-life incidents happening.
Rather in a world where hero can be even a Lawyer, we see more and more forced drama happening around the single point. Bringing up 49 (P) section into limelight actually ends the story and everything else is just an extension. Can you believe that a ruthless Corporate criminal suddenly turns into Mother Teresa and the most self-aware person just because his ego is hurt? Will his company bosses be happy with his sudden shift in decisions? Doesn’t he have his whole year planned with meetings? Are CEOs of multi-billionaire companies so workless that they walk around smoking cigarettes and fighting ego battles? Murugadoss seems to be in his own world of fantasy so cut away from the normal life that he believes his idea is enough to make people think. There is no proper execution or even proper situation in the screenplay to support the random motive changes of characters.
These are just caricatures of AR Murugadoss’s arrogantly dumb world. There is a 55-year experienced politician who takes orders from his daughter. There is a No.2 politician who goes around openly challenging. There is a senior most politician who himself kills people, that too independent investigative journalist. There are people who tell the police to beat them because they took money to vote that too for a man, who just spoke 2 minutes about his past and tomatoes. Also, a daughter who ruthlessly tries to kill his parents doesn’t own a gun or doesn’t even try to react in anger when she can figure out that she will only lose in any situation. The silliness in writing doesn’t start at one point or stop at another. It just flows through the entire film like the Ganges in Rainy season, uncontrolled and too rash.
We wonder if this is the same Murugadoss who made films like Ghajini, Ramanna (Tagore), and Thuppakki? We wonder if he really took it from an assistant director and executed it with a high budget and Vijay. In any case, a star should always realize that movies that connect with the audience make them big and even if they need to have their agendas, subtilty is a must. AR Rahman cannot always say Alaporan Thamizha and theater shake with him. He can say Oru Viral Puratchi and nobody could move an inch. So, it is better to trust story than the image and fans undying love while making a film.
All-in-all, when you watch a political drama you need to feel that the points talked about are right and solutions not too idealistic but practical enough. Yuva never tried to offer a solution but made it evident that there is a good solution present to the problem. Mudhalvan (Oke Okkadu) made it evident that the solution is simple and all you need is a committed person. Even though they had been far-fetched, they never seemed amateurish and outlandish so much that we laugh when an important scene is playing and seriously wonder what is wrong with the makers when we are supposed to connect to it emotionally. Murugadoss tried to come up with a Sarkar so ideal that even he won’t aspire for it after one hour of its existence.