Super Deluxe movie review: Vijay Sethupathi shines in film powered by honest writing, technical finesse
With Super Deluxe, Thiagarajan Kumararaja delivers a film of substance which also entertains.
castVijay Sethupathi, Fahadh Faasil, Samantha Ruth Prabhu, Ramya Krishnan, Mysskin
A one word review of Thiagarajan Kumararaja’s Super Deluxe would be - Brilliant. One of the best Tamil films in recent times, Super Deluxe dares to take the road less travelled and still provides entertainment as well as food for thought. Kumararaja marks his return to filmmaking eight years after his path-breaking neo-noir classic Aaranyakandam (2011). Super Deluxe, however, is more daring, technically superior with top class performances from its ensemble cast.
It is a triumph of honest writing and quirky characters that make the experience different and enjoyable. The writers — Mysskin, Nalan Kumarasamy, Neelan K.Sekhar and Kumararaja — have put across their views on life, relationships, love, sex and spirituality. The best part of the film is that Kumararaja is not judgemental and doesn't try to deliver a message forcefully or spoon-feed his audience.
The film is a collection of four stories about different people stuck in difficult situations. However, what connects them more than the plot are their experiences. The characters here are quirky and real. Shilpa, a transgender woman (Vijay Sethupathi), is looking to soothe her tormented soul as her love for her six-year-old son and family life is tested by circumstances. A couple, Mugil (Fahadh Faasil) and his wife Vembu (Samantha), are in a marriage of convenience and going through harrowing times as they have to dispose of the body of Vembu’s ex-lover. A former porn star, Leela (Ramya Krishnan), who now works as a maid is fighting to save her injured son who has now caught up with her past. Leela’s husband Arputham (Mysskin), who converted to Christianity after being saved in a Tsunami, is now a preacher struggling to keep up with circumstances. Four sexually frustrated friends — Gaaji, Vasanth , Thooyavan and Soori — discover a whole new world while looking for porn.
More details on the plot would count as spoilers as Kumararaja’s references to pop culture and black humour can only be truly enjoyed while watching the film. The humour is weaved into the story in a tongue-in-cheek manner and works big time. The scene where the boys looking for bit Padam (porn) come across a video titled Mallu Uncut is hilarious. The unforgettable emotional scenes in the film are between Shilpa and her six year old son Rasukutty (Ashwanth Ashokkumar). The lecherous cop (Baghavathy Perumal) who is willing to misuse his power to fulfil his sexual desires is a well-etched character both slimy and ruthless.
The major highlights of the film are the actors who dare to be different and bold. Is there a better actor than Vijay Sethupathi in Tamil cinema? In Super Deluxe, he has played a role which perhaps no mainstream hero in Indian cinema would dare to portray. The scene inside the police station with Bhagavathy Perumal where Shilpa reveals herself is a rocker. Samantha has also delivered her career best performance. As an actress, she has reached a different level and portrays complex women characters effciently. Fahadh Faasil is extraordinary and does full justice to his character. His soliloquy with the corpse of his wife’s ex-lover is unforgettable. Ramya Krishnan, like good wine, is just getting better and better. All the newcomers have also lived their roles truly. Ashwanth Ashokkumar as the six-year-old is riveting and Gayathri as his mother, is perfect.
Technically, the film shines. Both the cinematographers, PS Vinod and Nirav Shah, have lit the frames effectively. Yuvan Shankar Raja’s background score is in sync with the narration. Tapas Nayak’s sound design along with G Balaji’s colour grading is another plus. On the whole, Thiagarajan Kumararaja delivers a film of substance which also entertains.
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