Cast: Surya, Anushka Shetty, Shruti Haasan
Much like when you walk into a film screening of a James Bond adventure or, closer home, a Rajinikanth starrer, you would know exactly what to expect when you troop into a movie that has Surya. And a Surya as Singam or Lion – and that too as a cop – can only push the film in a singularly unilateral direction. The man has to be squeaky clean, putting to shame a force where corruption rules with unbelievably high-handedness. Not only is Singam honest, sincere and dedicated, but he is also so strong that he is equated with a lion – with the actor ever so often leaping into the air before he bangs his opponent with his outstretched palm. Just like the king of the forest, Singam is the undisputed monarch in his territory. Which has been expanding.
Durai Singam – that is the full name of the character which the actor portrays – has grown since his first appearance in Singam 1 – which strove to weave a balance between his family’s sentiments and his own arrival into the big city of Chennai. Singam chooses the khaki as his sole identity and principle in life. Singam 2 saw Surya chasing criminals across the Tamil Nadu border – in what was a clear indication of his rising powers and expanding turf.
In the third of the series, shortened stylistically to Si3, Surya’s Durai Singam is a Deputy Commissioner of Police in Chennai who is asked to help solve the murder of the Andhra Pradesh Commissioner of Police. When someone quips why ask a Tamil Nadu policeman to come over, pat comes the reply: Because Singam is forthright, dedicated and unimaginably daring. And may I add, unbelievably strong, so strong that he can race past a truck, jump down several storeys with not a scratch to his body and take on dozens of pistol-toting and knife-wielding men, each looking more evil than the other.
Singam lands in Vishakhpatnam, the scene of the murder, and soon smells a huge racket involving an Indian businessman (with an Australian passport and an Indian Minister for a father) – who dumps into the Indian backyard Australian medical waste and medicines past their expiry. Children die when they inhale the smoke from the waste that is burnt. A policeman faints when he takes a spurious pill from Australia. The culprit of this game is Vittal, and Singam – with the help of a few honest cops – breaks into a seemingly impregnable fortress of crime and corruption, greed and inhuman callousness.
The movie is one long chase of 156 minutes – punctuated for brief moments by a night club dance number and a Shruti Haasan as an investigative reporter, Vidya, in love with a Singam, happily married to Anushka Shetty’s Kavya. These romantic or marital interludes appear more like an excuse to attract women audiences to the film, which is otherwise tryingly violent, with a camera that could well put to shame an overly hyperactive kid. The only time the camera breathes easy is when Singam gets into his preachy best – forcefully reminding the villains and the traitors that India is a great country. Not one huge garbage bin that men like Vittal treat, dumping into it the poisonous filth and dirt from another nation, Australia in this case. (As I walked out of the cinema, I was wondering whether the Australian Government would take umbrage over this.)
Honestly, Si 3 seems quite jaded with nothing really different to offer from the earlier editions. And Surya looks positively tired, a tad uninterested and mechanical as well. After all, there was nothing refreshing about this roar.
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