At its core, Tughlaq Durbar starring Vijay Sethupathi has a very interesting concept. A concept where the hero and the villain are within the same individual. But sadly director Delhi Prasad Deenadayalan has no interest in placing that idea into a better premise. Written at a very basic level, Tughlaq Durbar is a usual movie that had all the potential to be a variety satire but chose not to go in that track.
Singam aka Singaravelan is our central character. He was born at a political party’s rally and was named by the politician Rayappan at the same venue. From a very young age itself, Rayappan became a role model for Singam, and he aspired to be a political figure like him. He was transforming into this crooked and cunning politician who sees opportunity at every point. But after a particular incident, a duality starts to play inside him, and Singam started acting strangely. It was like two individuals of polarizing perspectives were living inside one guy. How Singam deals with this situation is what we see in Tughlaq Durbar.
The lack of a solid conflict is what really making Delhi Prasad’s movie a weak one. Is it the money? Is it the power? Or Is it the presence of the second person that’s becoming an issue here, is not explained properly. There are times when you can’t even figure out what is the genre of this movie. In the initial phases, we would feel that it’s a quirky satire that wants to expose the corrupt political hierarchy in the country, and then all of a sudden it changes its tone and will almost make you ask whether Vijay Sethupathi has plans to contest in elections. This contradiction in the tonality makes the movie a very disappointing one.
Vijay Sethupathi in the dual shade pulls off a convincing performance. Without doing much, he manages to give a unique touch to both versions of his character. Parthiban was fun to watch even though the writing never offered him much space. In terms of scope to perform both Raashi Khanna and Manjima Mohan are inconsequential to the movie. Karunakaran as Vasu and Bhagavathi Perumal as Mangalam are okay in their respective roles.
Delhi Prasad who has written the movie easily gives up on the film after creating a quirky element. He is interested in the idea of Vijay Sethupathi versus Vijay Sethupathi. But to explore that he uses only this one track of a missing pile of money. The track featuring Singam’s sister, the income tax raid, the equation with Rayappan, etc., is abandoned after a point. And as I already said, you don’t really get what they want the movie to be as it constantly shuttling between being a clichéd good hero movie and also a satiric political drama. Songs don’t really blend in with the film, and the other technical aspects also don’t make much of an impression.
Tughlaq Durbar is an idea that never took off. Nothing unpredictable or unexpected is happening here, and the only fresh element in the story is not exploited effectively to entertain you. The less eccentric portrayal of the character by Vijay Sethupathi is perhaps the only thing that makes it feel like an okay film on the whole.
Nothing unpredictable or unexpected is happening here, and the only fresh element in the story is not exploited effectively to entertain you.
Green: Recommended Film
Orange: Okay, Watchable, Experimental Films
Red: Not Recommended