Tamil cinema loves to stereotype its heroes and Vijay is definitely the most stereotyped among them right now. Walking into Sivakasi, you know exactly what is in store for you. And it does not let us down. It has fights, dances, sentiments and punch dialogs and in the middle, Vijay, obviously enjoying doing it all. That’s not exactly a bad thing. The problem is that Perarasu, who managed to package these same elements in an interesting manner in Tiruppaachi, fails to do so here.
Sivakasi (Vijay), a welder in Chennai, is an orphan. Hema (Asin), the college-going daughter of a rich jeweler, falls for him and Sivakasi reciprocates her love once he understands her sincerity. When Hema riles Sivakasi up about his lack of affection, he reveals his past to her. He had an affectionate father (Rajesh), a loving mother (Geetha), an older brother and a younger sister but had run away from home after his brother tricked him into accepting the blame for a wrongdoing. Under Hema’s goading, Sivakasi returns to his village after 15 long years but finds that his brother (Prakashraj) has still not mended his ways.
I have the same problem with Sivakasi that I had with movies like Dhum. Inspite of all the heroism, its hero is not a very likeable character. At different points in the film, Vijay comes off as being chauvinistic, egoistic, hot-headed, selfish, unreasonable and even callous. So we have a completely hero-centric film with a hero who is not likable.
The romance has a few fun moments as Asin plays a trick or two on Vijay though the same scenarios could have possibly been exploited in a much better manner by a more talented director. But it also contains some incredibly silly moments that don’t speak well of either Vijay or Asin. Added to this is the fact that we’re never really sure for quite some time if Vijay is in love with Asin or not. The only relief is that inspite of all pointers towards it, the film doesn’t turn into a cliched rich girl-poor boy love story.
Sivakasi’s second half is simply a rehash of Dhool as Vijay goes up against a politician. We even have the actress from Dhool, shouting and screaming in the same way. But Vijay’s plans here fall in one of two categories – they are either silly(like the whole sequence with Nayanthara) or distasteful(like the lie he makes his sister believe). He manipulates everyone around him unmindful of their feelings and gives some lame-a** excuse to rationalize it. The villagers are pretty much shown as fools who fall for cheap gimmicks and are swayed by theatrics.
Tiruppaachi worked because it had the right tone. The first half was all comedy and sentiment while the second half was devoted to action and violence. But Perarasu here seems unsure of the tone of the movie. This is very evident in the second half as Vijay’s mood varies alarmingly from one scene to the next. In one scene he is a clown, joking around with Prakashraj as he dupes him. And in the next, he is the dutiful son itching for revenge with bloodshot eyes. It takes an interesting screenplay and a charismatic hero to make such changes in tone seem natural and neither Perarasu nor Vijay possess the skills for that.
The one thing Perarasu has done well is ‘build-up’. Vijay has an amazing introduction scene that makes one itch to clap and the sequences where Vijay’s heroism is projected(using techniques like slo-mo, changing colors, etc.) are done well. But the scene where a stiff Perarasu introduces himself under the pretext of praising Vijay smacks of amateurishness.
Vijay expectedly dances and fights with gusto. But his expressions, dialog delivery and style are getting stale already. He may not lose his fans with Sivakasi but he’s not going to get any new fans either. Asin does her job well but disappears post-intermission, reappearing briefly for a duet. Prakashraj screams almost all the time he is on screen but his villainy is so over- the-top that it is completely ineffective. Vaada Vaada… and Kodambakkam Area… turn out to be the most enjoyable song sequences mainly because of Vijay’s dance skills. Nayanthara struggles to keep up with him in the latter though. The lone melody Idhu Enna… and the pathos number Dheivathukke… are played in bits and pieces at a few different places. Deepavali… and Ada Ennatha… are both marked by weird costumes and poor choreography.
Sivakasi offers rather feeble fireworks.