LKG: A Relatable, Relevant & Entertaining Political Satire With An Average Second Half.
Movie Review by Trijai Nerthi (Rocheston Certified Movie Critic)
Directed by K.R Prabhu, LKG is a political satire written by & starring RJ Balaji. The film also has Priya Anand, Nanjil Sampath and J.K Rithesh playing significant roles. Political satires are hard to come by in Tamil cinema, but the reason LKG is doing so well can be owed to one thing: underestimation. Almost everyone criticized RJ Balaji’s decision to write and act in a lead role of a film. There are many case studies that justified their reactions. But as far as LKG is concerned, Balaji’s fresh writing and spontaneous acting, powers through. The film may not be unforgettable but it is entertaining enough to keep you happy with its refreshing take on Political satire. This feat could’ve not been possible without director K.R Prabhu’s attention to detail.
LKG, short for Lalgudi Karupaiah Gandhi (RJ Balaji) is a selfish man with big dreams. He is the councilor of the small town of Lalgudi and strives to be the chief minister someday. His journey from being a street-smart youngster and a counselor to becoming the chief minister forms the crux of this film. In this journey, you are also taken through the help he enlists from a corporate political strategist, Sarala (Priya Anand) and the opposing contestant who gives him a run for his Monday, Ramaraj Pandian (J.K Rithesh). The idealism LKG sells, happily and his smart and undetected ways of self-serving are what helps the film take off.
LKG is the perfect combination of idealism and cynicism. The first half is full of political events you are familiar with. The content you witness too is something you’ve already been exposed to in social media. But the manner in which the content comes enveloped in unexpected plot twists and imaginative comedy is what helps the film take off.
One of the predominant reasons why the film works so well is because it is everything you expected NOTA to be. Here, facts are presented in a light-hearted manner but NOTA did not strike a chord because it took itself a little too seriously. LKG, on the other hand, uses the ample scope provided by state politics in a smart manner. It doesn’t sell idealism but it tells you WHY people always prefer idealism. To be able to laugh at oneself and the overlapping political disappointments surrounding the society can be quite freeing. This is exactly what LKG sells to you.
The scenes that unravel the dealings between a Panchayat Office and a local councilor and the deception involved in winning votes and accepting bribes is showcased in a fresh manner. The climax twist too is coined quite intelligently. Here too, RJ Balaji follows up an ideal speech and breaks it with cynicism.
One of the film’s weakest attributes is the manner in which it shifts from comedy to drama so abruptly. One minute you are witness to a comical scenario and immediately the film jumps to a similar scenario and demands to be taken seriously. While the first half is convincing and based on real events, the second half feels too cooked up. You are not convinced by the events that happen in the last sixty minutes of the film. This is why there is a tiring lag towards the end of LKG.
RJ Balaji has written a story that is truly tailor-made for him. LKG is developed with a careful calculation of Balaji’s skills and that’s why the character works well on screen. He delivers his signature blend of sarcasm, wisecracks, sentiments, and seriousness with a lot of conviction. But one cannot miss out on one serious inconsistency in his characterization. He shifts from comedy to drama quite abruptly. This inconsistent shift makes it difficult for you to take him seriously and even leaves you confused. You are left confused on what to perceive as comedy and what to take seriously. There should’ve been a smoother transition between the two aspects.
As Sarala, Priya Anand has an important role to play. Many of the plot’s twists and turns originate from her and yet, the actress never makes the most of it. Throughout the film, she maintains the same set of reactions leaving you with a performance that is repetitive and lackluster. Amateur actors like Nanjil Sampath and J.K Rithesh deliver performances that heed their reputation, nothing more and nothing less. Mayil Samy is quite sincere in his performance.
Music Director Leon James’s background score and tracks lend the film immense narrative strength. His remix of ‘Ethanai Kaalam’ from the 1954 Tamil film Malaikallan works spectacularly well. Vidhu Ayyanna’s efficient cinematography fits the bill too.
On the whole, LKG is not a revelation, but it is most definitely entertaining. It takes what works and mixes it up with a few fresh elements to give you a film that is relatable and enjoyable.