Garudan Review | A ‘Real’ Soori in an Unappealing Commercial Template Film

The synopsis of the new Soori starrer film Garudan, written and directed by RS Durai Senthilkumar and based on a story by Vetrimaran, is very interesting. It is about the rift between two men who started off like brothers and their confidant, who is going through a dilemma of whose side to take. The problem with the movie is that it takes really long through a lot of generic beats to reach that point where this dilemma starts to play a key role in creating the drama in the story. Even though Garudan never enters a space that would make the movie a tiring experience, the gallery-pleasing elements are kind of squeezing out the scope to be an effective drama.

Aadhi and Karuna are these childhood best friends who eventually became influential names. They supported one another, and their families also liked each other. Sokkan was the close aid of Karuna. Karuna found Sokkan as an orphan in his childhood, and it was Karuna’s grandmother (Appatha), who gave Sokkan his name. Things took some drastic turns when Karuna became greedy for money and power after the passing of Appatha. How Sokkan reacts to this scenario where he has to choose between loyalty and justice is what we see in Garudan.

Those who follow Tamil cinema closely know the fact that there are these two categories of films in mainstream Tamil cinema. The first one is the kind of films that can be released anywhere, and then there are these B and C center films, which the audience with global exposure mock as cringe or paasam movies. Soori, as an actor, has done mostly comedy roles where he is the hero’s sidekick, and if you look at his filmography, most of them had the B and C center audience as the targeted audience. So, the treatment of this movie from RS Durai Senthilkumar is done keeping in mind the sensibilities of that category of cinema. If you are okay with the loud, in-your-face, exaggerated depiction of loyalty, there is a possibility that you might find Garudan passable.

If you look at the characterization of Sokkan, it is almost like the editor has made Sokkan the hero. RS Durai Senthilkumar does not want to make Soori this conventional mass hero with just one movie. In the larger picture of the power dynamic, he is the sidekick of the main guy. In fact, it was annoying to see some of the typical Soori humor and his long monologue kind of admissions in the movie. But it is actually like a blessing and curse. Blessing because your hero is not really that superhuman hero, curse because you get to watch the typical Soori even in a movie that has him as the hero. Sasikumar is sleepwalking through this character, and there is hardly anything there for him to perform. The same can be said about the police character of Samuthirakani as well. Unnimukundan, as Karuna, has an interesting character who isn’t this evident bad guy, but rather a conflicted man who became evil because of manipulation. With his usual set of expressions, Unni manages to perform the character neatly. Towards the end of the movie, Sshivada gets some ample space to showcase her caliber.

The story is credited to Vetrimaran, and if you look at the power hierarchy between characters, you can see that Vetrimaran wanted to show the influence of caste and how the idea of loyalty had a role in keeping the underprivileged at the bottom of society. When it comes to the screenplay of RS Durai Senthilkumar, such political angles are not getting enough emphasis, and the desperation to be a crowd-pleasing movie is making the script go after broad strokes. As I already said, the idea of Sokkan having to choose between justice and loyalty had the scope to be a fascinating character study. But the movie’s aspirations to make a mass hero out of a real Sokkan is making it all the more usual rather than something peculiar. The film’s cinematography largely follows a warm tone with the climax having an excessive usage of that tone. They have tried to make the fight sequences as real as possible, but Soori is struggling in many areas to catch that highspeed swagger.

Tamil cinema has been going through a really dull phase this year, and rereleases and other language movies have been dominating the Tamil box office for some time. Looking at the content scarcity, one can confidently say that Garudan is a relatively better movie because it has a certain drama in its story that makes it interesting on paper. But when it comes to the execution part of it, Garudan feels like a hurried and compromised product that had the scope to be a memorable film.

Final Thoughts

Even though Garudan never enters a space that would make the movie a tiring experience, the gallery-pleasing elements are kind of squeezing out the scope to be an effective drama.


Green: Recommended Content

Orange: The In-Between Ones

Red: Not Recommended


By Aswin Bharadwaj

Founder and editor of Lensmen Reviews.