Review Tamil

Tughlaq Durbar review: This Vijay Sethupathi film is a largely entertaining political comedy with a quirky twist

Release Date: 11 Sep 2021


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Haricharan Pudipeddi

First-time director Delhi Prasad Deenadayalan turns the generic political satire template on its head with a quirky subplot about split personality disorder.

It’s raining movie releases for Vijay Sethupathi, who has as many as half-a-dozen lined up. Last seen on the big screen as the antagonist in the Tamil hit Master (2021), Vijay Sethupathi plays an aspiring politician who will do anything to get a party seat in Tughlaq Durbar (2021), a largely predictable but entertaining political comedy with a twist that leaves you in splits. First-time director Delhi Prasad Deenadayalan turns the generic political satire template on its head with a quirky subplot about split personality disorder.

What if our politicians had a conscience which stopped them from doing anything wrong? Vijay Sethupathi plays Singaravelan alias Singam, who aspires to be the next councillor from his area. Born at a political rally, Singam grows up thinking he is destined to be a politician and does everything in his power to win the trust of Rayappan (Parthiban), a local politician.

As Singam slowly makes his way into the party and grows to become Rayappan’s aide, one unfortunate accident leaves him with a rare ailment. Singam starts experiencing moments where his conscience takes control of his body and won’t let him do anything wrong. As the story progresses, Singam fights with his own self to take control of his life and fulfil his ambitions.

Without making a straight-out political comedy about corrupt politicians, director Deenadayalan gives an interesting spin to the ‘do-the-right-thing’ philosophy. Toying with the idea of split personality disorder works as a whacky premise for an otherwise tried-and-tested political-satire template. It’s the story of a man (who eventually grows a conscience) engaged in a battle with himself. It merely uses politics as a backdrop to question the morality of a politician who has just been voted to serve the people.

Vijay Sethupathi has been doing so many films of late that his performances have become repetitive. But his performance as a man with strong political ambitions but suffering from split-personality disorder is easily one of his most entertaining in recent times. He owns this character and delivers such a lively performance.

Parthiban as the corrupt political leader is another character that really makes Tughlaq Durbar an entertaining film. The scenes between Parthiban and Vijay Sethupathi will leave the audience in splits. This is unarguably one of the best on-screen pairs in Tamil cinema in recent years.

Tughlaq Durbar pays a fitting tribute to Tamil political comedy Amaidhi Padai (1994) in the climax. Veteran actor Sathyaraj returns to play the highly popular character from Amaidhi Padai, and his scenes with Vijay Sethupathi help the movie end on a high. With a promising core idea, the film could have been a lot more fulfilling, but it settles for less. Nevertheless, Tughlaq Durbar is entertaining with a whacky plot twist and some memorable performances.

Tughlaq Darbar was premiered on Vijay TV on Friday and is now available on Netflix.

 

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