At one time, Santhanam was Tamil cinema’s leading comedian, playing sidekick to the big heroes on screen. One fine day, he decided to play hero himself. The first few films he did as the lead star were laced with comedy and some of them did fairly decent business at the box office. However, he seems to have become more ambitious of late and has wanted to do the commercial masala entertainers that are the staple of big heroes.
The result is Sakka Podu Podu Raja (SPPR), which is a tedious watch. Santhanam does everything in the film that one would associate with a Rajinikanth, Vijay or Ajith formula film. From a dramatic introduction scene, to a heroine swooning over him, from songs in exotic locations, to fighting a dozen men — Santhanam does it all in SPPR.
The story goes like this: Santa (Santhanam) is a rich guy who helps a couple to elope. The girl is the sister of a gangster Bhavani (Sampath), and the latter now wants to kill Santa. Bhavani and his henchmen rush to Bengauru looking for Santa, who has fallen in love with a girl called Yazhini (Vaibhavi Shandilya), having met her in a temple. Initially, she is not interested in Santa; but after he slaps her, calls her arrogant and advises her how women should be 'soft by nature', Yazhini falls for him like a ton of bricks!
Later, to win him over, she even dons a bikini! The dialogue she then tells her friends is truly cringe-worthy: "Two piece pottu eppidi avana piece piece ah odaikren paaru (Wearing a two piece, I will break him piece by piece, you just watch)". And like all heroes in Tamil films, our hero flips, and the girl happens to be Bhavani’s younger sister!
The film has a host of comedians — Vivek, Robo Shankar, VTV Ganesh, Power Star Srinivasan, Mayilsami, Sethu and others. Scenes featuring Vivek and VTV Ganesh provide some laughter. Power Star Srinivasan is hilarious as he mocks at the larger-than-life Tami superstars. STR's music is the only saving grace in the film, although the song placements have no connection with the narrative.
Santhanam as a hero is better-looking than many of the current lot of heroes. But the trouble is that he should have picked a better script, and played to his natural strengths — comedy laced with gimmicks — without going overboard. Most of the time, one cannot make out whether he is spoofing Tamil cinema’s larger-than-life heroes or whether he wants to be one.
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