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'Desingu Raja': stale wine in new bottle (Tamil Movie Review)

By Haricharan Pudipeddi, Film: "Desingu Raja"; Cast: Vimal, Bindu Madhavi, Soori, Singampuli, Ravi Mariya, Naren, Vinu Chakravarthy and Vadivukkarasi; Director: Ezhil; Rating: *1/2


Rural potboilers in Tamil cinema are usually about a love story or rivalry between two villages. Not surprisingly, "Desingu Raja" merges both the common themes into a story, which partially entertains, but otherwise is a wasted effort. Despite its flawed screenplay and a plot that barely evokes interest, it's the sporadic laughs that hold audiences through the film.

This is the love story of Idhayakani (Vimal) and Thamarai (Bindu), who belong to different families which share a warring rivalry for generations. Will love between the young couple triumph over familial hatred? This forms the rest of the story.

Since time immemorial, we have had films with a similar storyline. I wonder what makes "Desingu Raja" any different from any of these films that have come over the years, except for the cast and some earnest comedy.

It's an unambitious film on a mission to entertain its viewers with full-length comedy. Honestly, it doesn't succeed in its mission because the forced humour works for a few minutes, but after a while it really tests your patience.

Vimal and Bindu scored a hit earlier this year with a film called "Kedi Billa Killadi Ranga", and the makers of "Desingu Raja" were under the impression that the pair will elevate the film with their presence and help it succeed. But, the truth is that the last time that this couple appeared on screen, their presence was complemented by a decent storyline, which is completely missing in the case of this film.

While a crop of new filmmakers are trying to tread never-explored territories of filmmaking with films such as "Neram" and "Pizza", films such as the one in discussion and several more have been heavily relying on comedy. I agree the success rate of comedy films is high vis-a-vis other genre films, but eventually the fate of a film depends on its story.

Director Ezhil, who's been in the industry for over a decade, barely displays a streak of brilliance. In fact, the film raises questions such as - "Has Ezhil lost his directorial spark?", as one walks home after watching film. He has undoubtedly made a couple of good rural entertainers over the years, but he seriously needs to move on and try different films.

Vimal too has been typecast for village-based roles. Even though he has played them to perfection, it is getting extremely boring to see him in similar roles. He should look at doing different films outside of comedy genres and gauge the reception of his fans. I'm positive that people will welcome him with open hearts.

Bindu Madhavi is trading her pretty looks for portraying similar roles. She is more comfortable wearing a half-sari and playing a village belle than trying something unconventional.

It's perfectly alright to skip "Desingu Raja" if you still haven't watched it. For those who have already watched it, I feel sorry for you, truly.

--IANS (Posted on 24-08-2013)

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