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Sivakumarin Sabadham Hiphop Aadhi
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Director: Hiphop Aadhi
Cast: Hiphip Aadhi, Madhuri Jain, Adithya Kathir

There are two ways to take the title of the film. In the 1940s, Kalki wrote a novel called ‘Sivakamiyin Sabadham’. Is this film going to change Sivakami to Sivakumar, and do some fun things with it? Or is it going to be really a serious drama with a sabadham (challenge or oath) at work — like in Kalki’s novel — and become something intense? I know you don’t usually think of these questions before a Hiphop Tamizha movie, because they’re fun entertainers generally. But here, the buzz was that he was trying to change his image by doing something serious, which is why this question comes about. But as expected, the film is mostly silly and spoof-like, and only the last half hour or so is intense. 

You should congratulate Hiphop Tamizha for one thing: When it comes to issues, most heroes cannot think beyond farmers and agriculture. At least here, we’re talking about weavers in Kanchipuram. But the pattern is the same as most hero entertainers. No one is going to come and watch a serious film about poverty in Kanchipuram. So, the film establishes that point and quickly gets into ‘entertainment’ mode — songs, dances, fights. 

You get many songs, for instance, but you don’t get different situations for them. For example, take ‘Vandhenda Paalkaaran’ from Annamalai: Rajini is a milkman and celebrates the milieu he is from (similarly in ‘Autokaaran’ from Baasha). So, why not set the hero introduction song in Kanchipuram, in the same milieu from which he is from? Instead, we get a song that goes ‘naanga middle class da’ which actually means that the hero is serving his fans, rather than the story. 

The fight scenes have little imagination. For example, there’s one where Shruti (Madhuri Jain) goes to a bar/nightclub and runs into Sivakumar (Hiphop Aadhi); a bunch of men harass her, and a fight ensues. You could take this scene out of the movie and nothing would change, except that you’d have missed seeing Hiphop Tamizha fight. 

The problem is not the songs, comedy or fights, but the sameness. There’s a complete lack of effort to make the film look different. The one good idea in the film is the oath itself. We wonder what it is that Sivakumar is going to take an oath about, and when it happens (revealing it would spoil it), it’s the one good part of the film.

The story and characters are all over the place. There’s a megaserial feel to all the drama that happens around Shruti’s family. We get a lot of random life lessons like, “kaadhal-la thokkalaam, aana vaazhkaila thokkakoodadhu (you can lose in love, but not in life)” or “kaasu panam vandhu pogum, naalu nalla manushanga irundha adhudhaan soththu (money comes and goes, only people are our asset).” These life lessons co-exist with dialogues like when the heroine says, “nee naughty daa” and the hero replies “naa naughty-naa, nee cutie di.

Only in the last half hour does the weaving angle return, and the continuity of the story is back — you feel each scene follows the previous one, instead of randomly being put in for entertainment. Some of you might ask, why bother with all this? Why treat this like ‘cinema’? Why can’t it just be a celebration for Hiphop Tamizha fans? Fair enough, but all I’m saying that issues like the poverty of weavers are serious issues, and if all you want to deliver is just entertainment, then just stick to “naa naughty-na, nee cutie di.

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