Kuppathu Raja: A Pointless and Dull Film That Has No Clue Where It’s Headed
Movie Review by Trijai Nerthi (Rocheston Certified Movie Critic)
How can one sit through a film that has no defined central conflict or no clear idea of where it’s headed? Directed by Baba Bhaskar, Kuppathu Raja is a cliched depiction of North Madras with no original portrayal and no designated premise. It is as though the director wanted to make a film on North Madras and hence borrowed ideas from all films with that setting. So, with help from his cast members G.V Prakash, Parthiban, M.S Bhaskar and Palak Lalwani, he proceeds to take you through almost three hours of chaos, cliches, unfunny comedy, and unwarranted romantic tracks just to leave you with a film that decides to take another direction in the very last minute.
The setting of Kuppathu Raja as the name elucidates is based on a slum in Chennai. The film takes you through the lives of the slum dwellers and places conflicts in the form of incidents that disrupt their daily lives. Rajendran (Parthiban) and his gang of five who call themselves Pandavas have established their dominance in the area. The rebelling gang is led by Rocket (GV Prakash) and his friends who call themselves Gauravas. In the midst of their disputes, Rocket falls in love with Kamala (Palak Lalwani), whose mother is dead against love marriages. Bringing much more chaos to their equation is the local councilor and a glamorous neighbor, Mary (Poonam Bajwa). Whether or not the peace in their lives is restored amidst this chaos forms the crux of the film.
Even after an hour and a half into Kuppathu Raja, you don’t understand what the film is really about. First, you are introduced to two gangs and this leads you to think that maybe the film is about them. But their gang names, Pandavas and Kauravas and their presence have no explanation or reason for being a part of this premise.
Here on, you are introduced to many characters and tracks including that of a local councilor but none of them take over as the central conflict in the film. It is as though the director decided to introduce a handful of characters and establish their roles in the movie but post this, he is clueless on how to take the story forward.
So, what does the director do in such a situation? He declares an interval and then proceeds to center the second half on a completely different plot twist that you were completely unaware of all this while. So, all you are left with is a first half that is completely disjointed to the second half and an audience who are furious on having wasted their time on such a random and disorganized plot.
Every film must have a purpose for its creation and sadly, Kuppathu Raja doesn’t have one. If its purpose is to make you laugh? Then it does not succeed. If its purpose is to craft a rooted film, it fails miserably. If it’s purpose is to bring you a love story? It never fulfills it. If it’s purpose is to give you a bit of everything? Then it is most definitely unpurposeful. From objectifying women to making cringe-worthy jokes uttered in inauthentic slang, Kuppathu Raja joins the long list of superficial films made with the only aim to cash in on the latest trend.
As Rocket, G.V Prakash delivers an average performance, after Bala’s Nachiyar and Rajiv Menon’s Sarvam Thaala Mayam, these roles and characters played by G.V Prakash seem to be quite repetitive. M.S Bhaskar and Parthiban do shine in their roles, in fact, they give you the only decent performance in comparison to the rest of the cast. But the limitations in their characters don’t let them perform to the fullest of their abilities. Playing Kamala, Palak Lalwani just cannot act. Her expressions are completely amateur and her lip-syncing is terrible. As Mary, Poonam Bajwa is objectified and used throughout the film to up the glamour quotient. It makes you wonder how much longer directors are going to use such cheap tactics under the false pretense of making their films watchable.
G.V Prakash’s music for Kuppathu Raja is shockingly subpar and underwhelming. The only two highlights in the technical department are the adequately authentic art direction and the mildly interesting cinematography.
On the whole, Kuppathu Raja is a directionless film that is too superficial to be taken seriously.