Movie Review: Dharmadurai

Cast: Vijay Sethupathi, Tamannah, Radhika Sarathkumar, Ganja Karuppu, MS Bhaskar, Aishwarya Rajesh, Rajesh
Direction: Seenu Ramaswamy
Music: Yuvan Shankar Raja

Watch the Trailer.

I am personally of the opinion, that a movie must have a feel-good factor when the audience leaves the hall. Everything else is secondary. After long, we get to witness a Tamil movie which, above all, makes the audience forget their everyday worries.

The plot:
First Half: Dharma Durai (Vijay Sethupathi) is one of the four siblings in a joint family, set in a village. The family business of chit-funds runs the danger of shutting shop because of Dharma Durai’s irresponsible behavior — his drinking problem is a social embarrassment to the family. Add to this, he constantly warns villagers to stay away from the chit-fund program. This makes him a thorn in the flesh for his brothers, who plot to get him murdered, after several failed attempts to keep him quiet. His mother, Radhika, struggles to pacify the brothers, but without any success. When she learns of the brothers plan to get Dharma murdered, she covertly helps him escape from the village.

While the plot sounds very treacherous, the first half, is filled with laughter-riots. The director has succeeded in not letting the audience judge any character — he keeps the focus strongly on the story as it is. Ganja Karuppu as Dharma’s friend/compounter steals the show with his timing and dialogue delivery throughout the film. Each character has been built with care, and there’s a consistency in every character’s behavior throughout the film. Be it Dharma’s brother-in-law who avoids anything perceived as masculine, to Dharma’s brother who is crazy about dresses — even in very serious scenes, their characters leave us in splits.

Second Half: The latter part of the film takes us through flashbacks — How did Dharma Durai, a doctor by profession, end up as an alcoholic. While the first half was mostly humor, the second half throws light into why relationship between Dharma & his brothers eroded. Dharma falls in love with a simple village girl. However, his brothers harass the girl’s father (MS Bhaskar) for dowry. The girl (Aishwarya Rajesh) eventually commits suicide, leaving Dharma aghast and eventually becoming an alcoholic.

The link between first half and second half, is a bag of money Dharma inadvertently takes from his home. The brothers believe he’s stolen their chit-fund money and begin a manhunt for him. The second half is slightly slow compared to first half, with the audience beginning to wonder where the film is taking them, since all plots have been disclosed.

The simple village life has been brilliantly captured on camera. Attention to detail by the art director is commendable — village homes have been depicted to perfection. Songs aren’t noteworthy, and could have been avoided — they’ve slowed the pace of film considerably. Every actor has done a commendable job. Overall, a film one can definitely spend time and money on.