Seema Raja - A masala movie that forgets its primary goal - entertainment!
The introduction of the hero in Seema Raja is enough for you to get convinced that this film is not really going to be in the mould of Varuthapadatha Vaalibar Sangam and Rajini Murugan. There are obvious similarities but the differences are striking. Major being the portrayal of its leading man. While he does retain a percentage of the carefree attitude, he is no more just a hero in pursuit of a girl. He has transformed into a saviour of the masses. So a cricket match turns into a war before the hero makes an entry sending stuntmen into orbits. What follows is the intro song. Here again there is a promotion. It is not just an intro song. It is a hero glorification anthem. It is very similar to the self evaluation that an IT employee does during the appraisal. The gist is 'I can do everything'.
The film then movies into the familiar zone of heroine chasing. These portions show glimpses of the Ponram that we are used to. Many jokes fall flat but there are a scattered few that work as well. The lighthearted mode of this segment ensures that even false notes are not major disappointments. But when the movie gets into the good vs evil battle with Simran coming into the picture, it feels as though the director - hero combo have bitten off more than they can chew.
More than the misfire with the hero glorification, it is the comedy which left me wondering. While Ponram's earlier two films were not classics, there were these jokes that did end up being a part of pop culture. In Seema Raja, the idea of a joke is naming the two horses of the chariot as Alex and Telex. And whenever a joke works it is very soon followed by a dampener. The alternation of comedy and serious scenes plays spoilsport. Maybe the assumption of the makers on the need to do something bigger is what hurts the film. Sivakarthikeyan did carry off the serious role in Velaikaran quite well. But over here it looks like he is playing the wrong game in a different ground. As said earlier, it is the jaded comedy between him and Soori that was more of a surprise. He actually looks the part (physicality wise) in the flashback portion as the king. But this portion does not belong to this film. The visuals in these portions are definitely a pleasant surprise given the scale of the film. But it is tough to watch the film with a straight face when you bring in Alaudin Khilji out of nowhere and then have him speaking in Hindi and our hero in chaste Tamil and both perfectly understanding each other's language. I am sure the intention was not to make Tamil Padam 3!
The intention behind a film is solely the right of the makers. With the dialogues about the superiority of Tamils and the importance of agriculture, it is clearly evident on what the motive of the film is. But you got to treat any subject with a certain amount of respect. You fit in these amidst an engaging masala and it at-least ensures that the audience averse to hero worship have something for them to take home. But here Ponram seems to be merely content on fitting in every aspect with very little thought about the final product. Sometimes all you get is nothing by mixing everything.
Seema Raja has a few scattered laughs. But on the whole it is an excuse of a movie to graduate its star into a saviour of the masses. The scapegoat is the audience.