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Sethupathi review: A film for Vijay, and he has to win

  • Gautaman Bhaskaran, Hindustan Times
  • Updated: Feb 19, 2016 17:03 IST
Vijay Sethupathi plays a tough cop, a role he has played so many times before. (VijaySethupathi.Official/Facebook)


Director: SU Arun Kumar

Cast: Vijay Sethupathi, Remya Nambeesan

Rating: 2/5

Arun Kumar’s Sethupathi is a film that moves from reel to reel on the shoulders of actor Vijay Sethupathi, who plays a cop, Sethupathi -- a toughie role that he has done so many times. There has been one wonderful exception, though, called Orange Mittai, where he essays an old man desperate for the warmth of human company.

Kumar’s film has the usual -- and oft-beaten -- incidents of an honest policeman not only battling a system which is unfriendly and even corrupt, but also a local dada, a saint for the masses but a personification of evil for his foes. Vijay’s Sethupathi has to obviously be on the chopping block of the villain (an impressive performance by Vela Ramamoorthy). Otherwise where is the story?

Watch Vijay’s Sethupathi trailer here:

The story begins with a man in khaki being burnt alive and Sethupathi bent on punishing the guilty. But when an accident involving a teenager shatters Sethupathi’s clean image, and barricades his way towards netting the criminal, a kind of lord in Madurai, the policeman has to plot a completely different script.

Read: Kaaka Muttai director’s next to star Vijay Sethupathi

Much of the movie is an endless series of chases and blows -- with the goons being beaten to pulp by the one-man brigade called Sethupathi. One may call this make-believe, but Kumar’s work rolls far beyond this.

Much of the movie is an endless series of chases and blows--with the goons being beaten to pulp by the one-man brigade called Sethupathi. (VijaySethupathi.Official/Facebook)

Read: Vijay Sethupathi set to work in another Dhanush production

However, there are finer, delicate moments in Sethupathi that do provide a pleasing relief. Sethupathi’s chemistry with his screen wife -- a hauntingly expressive Remya Nambeesan -- is scintillating. Nambeesan is certainly a high point of the film, and she conveys a gamut of emotions with elan. Why is she not used more often by Tamil cinema?

Predictable, for we know that Vijay will triumph in every move he makes, and often ponderously cliched, Sethupathi is high on thrill, thanks to adept editing by Sreekar Prasad, but besides this, there is hardly any novelty to mull over after the curtains drop.

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