LKG movie review: RJ Balaji's satire is an interesting take on the power play that dominates Tamil Nadu politics

Sreedhar Pillai

Feb 22, 2019 14:28:05 IST


The popular radio jockey, actor and social activist RJ Balaji makes his debut as writer and hero with LKG, a political satire laced with his trademark humour. Balaji’s USP has always been comedy and debutant director Prabhu allows him to play to his strength. It is a spoof and a satirical take on Tamil Nadu politics of the last two years (to be exact, after former Chief Minister Jayalalithaa’s death), according to RJ Balaji, who is also credited for the story and the screenplay.

 LKG movie review: RJ Balajis satire is an interesting take on the power play that dominates Tamil Nadu politics

RJ Balaji in a still from LKG. YouTube

LKG is a neat political satire that shows how cynical the common man is about the current political scenario. There are many hilarious scenes that instantly connects with the audiences about a particular political party or incident. In fact, it is obvious that Balaji and his friends helped themselves to real-life incidents that went viral and spiced up the script. There is the incident of a Tamil Nadu minister floating thermocol taped together on the Vaigai dam reservoir to prevent the water from evaporating. Another scene taken from real life has a politician slapping a man in public, the video of which went viral.

The opening scene has our hero Lalgudi Karupaiah Gandhi aka LKG (Balaji) getting shot at as he is about to be sworn in as the chief minister of Tamil Nadu. In a flashback sequence, it is shown how a small time crooked but ambitious councilor LKG climbs up the political ladder using his tact and gift of the gab. He has also a personal score to settle as his father (Nanjil Sampath), who was in politics for 30 years, did not make money and was considered a failure by the people. Egged on by his uncle (Mayilsamy), who acts as his PA, LKG decides to take a different political line where he uses people’s trust and faith in him, so that he can make money and capture power.

Right from the beginning, the voice in his head tells the audiences that he is in politics for himself, and not for the people. He goes around wearing a saffron veshti and black shirt, which brings in votes from both the believers and the atheists. He always manipulates the situation depends on the number of votes he will get or the hard cash he makes. LKG also realises the politics of today is run by the corporates and professional image builders. So he seeks the help of a Cambridge Analytica-like firm, headed by Sarala Munusamy, who has shortened her name to Saa Ra (Priya Anand), to market himself aggressively and influence social media users, and thereby the elections (there are rumours that in real life a top Tamil Nadu politician only listens to his image maker than his own party men).

This helps LKG to become popular among the influential national news channels. Soon, he becomes a favourite of Deputy Chief Minister Bhojappan (Ramkumar Ganesan), who is taking care of the state after the CM was hospitalised. And when the CM dies, he is pitted against his arch rival Ramraj Pandian (JK Riteesh) in the by-election that follows.

The story is wafer-thin and has been derived mostly from real life incidents and mixed well to be packaged into a commercial entertainer. The director conveniently uses memes, pop culture references and social media tools to push the plot forward. The film shows how social media trends can affect the outcome of polls in India. And the final scene, a monologue where Balaji explores what is wrong with our political system, is an eye-opener.

It is an out and out RJ Balaji show, and he is there in every frame of the film. Balaji and his team of writers provide a script that is razor sharp and able to provide maximum laughs. Priya does a neat job, making the most of a character with a mind of her own.  However, there are some logical loopholes in the script and the hero really does not have any major political setbacks.

LKG, with a runtime of 124 minutes, is able to grab your attention, as it comments on the murky world of Tamil Nadu politics. Overall, it is fun and the wink at the end will make you laugh loud as you come out of the theatres.

Rating: 3.25 stars

Updated Date: Feb 22, 2019 14:28:05 IST