Karuppan Review - Middling rustic drama
Vijay Sethupathy's choice of films is always interesting. It is not about the films but the choices itself that I am talking about. Karuppan is probably his attempt to cater to the rural masses. You understand the need for him to do such a film once in a while but does it all come together well on screen? With Karuppan it is neither an astounding 'Yes' nor a dejected 'No'. It occupies the middle ground.
The film opens with Vijay Sethupathy's biggest build up in his career so far. It is not overdone but is certainly on a scale higher than his previous films. Even in that hugely successful introduction scene in Vikram Vedha it was more of an intro for the Vedha character. But here it is for Vijay Sethupathy the 'star' as the camera keeps zooming in on every other part of his body before it lands on his face. There is even a sequence which has him dancing to songs of MGR, Sivaji, Kamal, Vijay and Ajith. The man himself however plays Karuppan in his own low key style.
Karuppan closely follows the template of a rural action drama. An angry hero who tones down a bit after a girl comes in his life, a scheming villain who is always in the midst but operates from the background and a heroine who is torn between her husband and her brother. Karuppan is actually very close to the Karthi starrer Komban in terms of plot. Here Pasupathy takes Rajkiran's place and Singam Puli replaces Thambi Ramiah.
The issue with Karuppan is that it gradually loses its grip over you. It is not a film that you would end up hating but the level of disinterest keeps increasing as the film progresses. Firstly it is easily predictable. But so are most formula films but the problem here is the lack of bite in most of the important scenes. The acting overall is merely of the 'I am present' type. You hardly connect with any of the emotions on screen. Too many songs keep popping up in the first half of the film. You wonder how careless the makers have been in a few scenes. The moustache of Singam Puli keeps changing in every other scene. And he actually plays an important character in the film and is not merely there for comical relief.
The bullfight has been captured well. The stunt team and cameraman Sakthivel have done a good job here. The use of VFX is obvious but it never becomes flimsy.
Karuppan is one of those films that most of us would neither love nor hate. It is what we end up calling watchable. It is better that Vijay Sethupathy does a proper mass masala once in a while rather than these 'in between' films that probably stems from his reservation to unabashedly go all out as the saviour of the masses.