Sindhubaadh Review - This actioner ought to have been way more fun!
S.U. Arunkumar probably turned commercial with vengeance in Sethupathi after the poetic Pannaiyarum Padminiyum. With two extremely diverse films you are naturally curious as to what he would be upto next. Sindhubaadh has him tread the commercial cinema space once again but the scale is bigger this time.
The trailer did make it clear that the film is an actioner with the hero having to sweat it out in an alien land. Well, there are no major surprises and the film is precisely this. The formula too isn't tinkered much. You are shown the danger that is looming at the start, followed by the hero introduction and his romance and then the showdown between the hero and the villain.
This is probably Vijay Sethupathi's most heroic or starry role in the mainstream masala sense. To clarify, the heroism in Sethupathi was part of the character that was being depicted whereas here it is the star who is the focus. So when he lands a punch on a henchman in Sindhubaadh, we feel it has got to do more with the star flexing his muscles rather than a character reacting to a situation. The good news is that Vijay Sethupathi does have it in him to make us buy these gimmicks. And unlike most stars he has a certain nonchalant expression that keeps reaffirming that while he is catering to the masses, he is doing this as a job and not getting carried away at any point of time. Anjali delivers the goods in a tailor made role for her and the kid Surya is good (he as an easy presence).
The film has it's share of problematic cliches but Arunkumar ensures that he has a redeeming factor for each one of them. The hero does stalk the heroine but the heroine is a bold and independent girl who yells this information straight on his face. The wife falls at the feet of the hero and asks his blessings but we have another scene where the hero falls at the feet of a call girl to thank her! In fact there is a scene where the hero tells that he does not entertain kids to take up violence. This again is possibly a response to the criticism for that famous scene from Sethupathi that had a kid handling a gun. All said and done , a marriage that happens in the film without the girl even being aware cannot be justified.
I get the feel that the film would have worked much better had it been treated like one of those Hollywood actioners where it is only about the stunts and adventure. But there is probably a business need to cater to everyone and Arunkumar brings in an emotional angle but this angle isn't compelling enough on screen. The villain after all that build up doesn't really pose a threat and the hero hardly stretches himself to defeat him. This is perhaps the films biggest undoing. You just cannot destroy someone in the blink of an eye after having all those dialogues about how dangerous he is. There are some nice ideas with the stunts like the scene in the rooftop between two buildings. But there isn't one continuous sctretch where you feel the tension. The lighthearted moments in the film are what really work.
Sindhubaadh is moderately entertaining and is certainly an easy watch. But it never gives you the high an actioner is supposed to give.