Tughlaq Durbar – A passable entertainer that could have been so much better!
Debutant Delhi Prasad Deenadayalan’s Tughlaq Durbar is predominantly a satire that uses an interesting idea. What if a bad person has to battle against someone good and what if the other person happens to be himself?
Compared to Vijay Sethupathi’s recent commercial outings, Tughlaq Durbar is a much better experience but this is also a film that never fully realizes its potential. The basic one liner is almost perfect for such a film but the makers are happy to keep it simple. But beyond a point there isn’t much happening or to put it correctly, a lot is happening but nothing excites us. By now we are familiar with how Vijay Sethupathi isn’t concerned about trampling with the ‘hero’ image. Here he plays Singaravelan aka Singam, a budding politician who would do anything to climb up the ladder. He has no emotions even for his sister. All that matters to him is himself. Now something happens and the good inside him starts coming out involuntarily. There is even a dialogue that refers to this good side as a disease. This phase of the film that has him blink and change personalities provides some fun for a brief while. And most of the fun is because of the way Karunakaran reacts in these scenes. It is he who actually comes up with the best performance of the film. Vijay Sethupathy and Parthiban are adequate but there is something that is missing. The X factor probably. And when Sathyaraj makes his cameo appearance, you probably understand what has been missing. This scene in the climax is a lot of fun and helps the film to end on a high. But again, it comes across more like a one scene gimmick and doesn’t really gel with the rest of the film.
Tughlaq Durbar is lightweight and it works both for and against the film. While at no point the film becomes a tedious watch, you also aren’t really emotionally invested with the film. This wouldn’t have been a problem if this was a completely fun watch but it also has certain emotions involved with the sister angle (Manjima Mohan). These conflicts and resolutions are conveniently written and the execution too leaves a lot to be desired. Again, this might not have mattered much had the fun quotient been really strong. But even that happens only in bits and pieces.
Tughlaq Durbar is a passable entertainer with some moments that work. But this is a film that should have been a whole lot of fun and it never fully exploits its central conceit.