Seema Raja Review: Sivakarthikeyan arrives as the worthy prince
Director Ponram and Sivakarthikeyan’s previous collaborations Varuthapadatha Valibar Sangam and Rajini Murugan were powered by the comedy and the incredible star power of Sivakarthikeyan. It didn’t have a spectacular story, but what made it work for how the duo capitalised on their strengths – comedy, silly face-offs which offered entertainment. It is surprising that in their latest film, Seema Raja, this familiar template doesn’t quite take off. The comedy is rather bland and the entertainment factor sets in too late.
Raja (Sivakarthikeyan) arrives for his introduction like a king, he is also treated by the villagers as one. He and his family are former zamindars who are envied by Simran and Lal – richest people of the same region. How the two groups battle it to win many different victories forms the rest of the story.
Inspite of taking a generous amount of time, specially the entire first half to set the mood of the film, the jokes or scenes aren’t memorable enough. The boy-chases-girl love sequence that’s quite regressive isn’t original and feels like a stalker is on the run. There is even a dialogue in the film where Raja explains why he needs an approval for his love, where he seems to speak in plural representing boys. But the innovative angle to show Suthanthira Selvi as the Silambatam expert worked well.
What begins to really work in the film is in its second half. Just when the film tries to go on a usual masala template format – it employs comedy. For example there is a scene in which Raja is heartbroken, rejected, with emotional music playing in the background. Soon, in the next scene Raja’s father (Napoleon) practices laughter yoga and takes a sly dig at his son’s situation. This is when you realise that the director doesn’t want to take on a complete serious route. There is a funny scene when there is a dog-cheetah sequence. It’s not unusual for these predators to visit some of the interior villages of Tamil Nadu, and director Ponram has used it relevantly in a comical manner.
I am not sure if that people of this region are heavily influenced by films. Because every now and then there are dialogues from Ajith’s films, from Vijay’s films and even a track from Mohanlal’s Puli Murugan.
In terms of performances of the leading female stars, Simran stars as the vamp, whose strong act makes her a worthy opponent in the film. Samantha stars In a role which doesn’t just expect her to star in songs, but she flexes her Silambatam skills too. Speaking her own lines in the film added weight to the character.
What starts off as a battle between two bigwigs in the region, later shifts to a love story, sprinkled with topic about the importance of farming, while ultimately taking the viewer on a Baahubali-sque mode. Looks like films aren’t done with having a big of period sequences in them. This part feels quite unnecessary. Nonetheless, the makers of the film and Sivakarthikeyan’s fans wouldn’t care more of this opinion because this sequence establishes the star, the hero as the Prince. What makes him even relatable is that he is a Raja, who is humanised due to his vulnerability. For instance he understand the points raised by the farmers, and tries to take a fair side.
This prince may travel on route filled with fantasy and adventure, but nothing else matters when he saves the day.