Junga: A Gangster Spoof that Loses Steam
Movie Review by Anirudh Madhav (Rocheston Certified Movie Critic)
There is a sequence in the movie, where Junga (Vijay Sethupathi) returns home after fighting goons in his village in Pollachi. His mother (Saranya Ponvannan) comically explains that he has inherited the ‘don’ blood from his father and grandfather and begs him not to follow their ways. The sequence is hilarious and the reason behind Junga’s name establishes that the movie is a subtle parody of don movies in Tamil cinema.
Junga reaches Chennai and his only aim is to reclaim ‘Cinema Paradise’, an ancestral property, which is now in the hands of a Chettiyar (Suresh Menon). The story leads Junga to Paris, where kidnapping the Chettiyar’s daughter Yazhini (Sayyeshaa), seems to be the only way to reclaim his rightful property.
The problem with Junga starts off a few minutes into the movie. Madonna Sebastian plays a Telegu girl and as the first love of Junga. The song ‘Amma Mela Sathiyam’ is a shoddy work of composition and the choreography is as jarring as the lyrics. Director Gokul’s writing is funny in parts. He ventures into every clichéd characterization of a don in Tamil cinema, from driving in a jeep, murdering people, collecting money and contracts and incorporates them into a hilarious way. The main aspect of Junga’s characterization is his stinginess and Gokul has instilled it in every possible scene.
Vijay Sethupathi’s solid performance, along with Yo Yo’s (Yogi Babu) comic expressions and dialogues make the first half of the movie an entertaining watch. The second half of the movie, mostly based in Paris is repetitive while the scenes back in Chennai, featuring Saranya and Junga’s grandmother are the highlights in the movie. Yazhini doesn’t get scope for performance, however she pulls of dance moves and designer costumes with ease.
Towards the end, the movie tries to take a serious turn and the storyline falls flat. International villains, car chase sequences and a shoot-out. Cinematographer Dudley has done a commendable job of capturing Paris’ locales. Music director Siddharth Vipin’s ‘Rise of Don’ soundtrack stands out; while the rest of the songs add to the run time of the movie. Director Gokul could have brought in a fresh twist in tune with the parody genre of the movie and could have crunched the run time in the second half for an entertaining ending.