Director: S.U. Arun Kumar
Cast: Vijay Sethupathi, Anjali, Vivek Prasanna
Vijay Sethupathi is a good actor, whose films Vikram Vedha, Orange Mittai and 96, were marvellously captivating. But when he jumps into mindless masala mish-mash, Sethupathi, despite his herculean effort, cannot save the movie.
As Thiru – a smalltime thief with the gift of a magical hand in a small Tamil Nadu town, called Thenkasi – Sethupathi gets into battle gear to rescue his newly-wedded wife, Vemba (Anjali), from the jungles on the borders of Cambodia and Thailand. She along with several other girls, Tamil included, are kept as virtual slaves by a notorious Thai gang that literally peels the skin off living women to be used for cosmetology. There are big bucks here which feeds an oversized private army and gets the thugs salivating for more.
There is really not much of a story in Sindhubaadh, and if there are twists and turns, these form a bizarre, unbelievable script – whose main motive appears to put a halo around Thiru. He goes through the entire gamut of action – from vanquishing dozens of Thai gangsters to playing the coy loverboy in the beginning when he woos Vemba on a holiday from the jungles of South-east Asia.
Sethupathi's son, who plays Thiru's young sidekick, adds little to plot enrichment, and Anjali herself seems as banal as ever with a kind of attitude and expression which I have seen in a movie after movie of her's. She hardly brings any novelty to her character – a rebellious young woman forced into bonded labour by her avaricious brother. Sethupathi still has to work on his dialogue delivery, but more importantly needs to see where he is heading. A mindless movie like Sindhubaadh can mar the beautiful memory of some of his earlier works that certainly elicited a wow from critics and others.
And, pray, what was Sindhubaadh all about? Trade in organs (this time skin), a love story the kind of which has been beaten to pulp in Tamil cinema or slave labour which screams sadism (men being suffocated to death in slow motion or twisting the neck or cutting the jugular to let blood gush out).
Honestly, Arun Kumar's latest adventure (with music thrown in by Yuvan Shankar Raja) is not worth spending your weekend – 132 minutes in all of sheer mayhem and madness.
(Gautaman Bhaskaran is an author, commentator and movie critic)