Introduction Tamil movies made by the late MGR, either by him or directed by others, had huge social messages. They were subtle and did build for him, a huge fan following. Those were difficult days when the technology was not advanced. There were no computers and the internet. Yet, MGR managed to involve the audiences like never before. That he was a teetotaler helped him take his messages to a much wider audience. His movies were totally against booze and tobacco consumption.
Though the MGR days are gone, the younger lot of Tamil heroes, who have a huge fan following, do attempt some bold movies. This was not possible when Jayalalitha was alive. She would give maximum troubles to any big freedom of expression. Vijay, a fairly young hero, now 46 years old, does still look like 26 years old. He maintains a very good image and is superb in the fight sequences.
The storyline This Tamil movie, named Sarkar, is one that can be understood even by someone who does not know Tamil. The body language of the hero takes the story along. Vijay, the hero, has attempted something very dramatic indeed. Armed with the title of CEO of the world 's biggest and most powerful IT company in the world, called GL, (there are already noises that he is referring to Sundar Pichchai of Google, who hails from Madurai), he comes to cast his vote in Tamil Nadu. His vote had already been cast by someone. It is a big question as to how this is possible, as the Aadhar card has the identity of the individual, apart from the voter's identification card. Yet, it happens. Vijay invokes a particular loophole in the law, referring to section 49(p) of the Conduct of Election Rules, 1961. This section gives the individual voter the right to demand to cast his vote again, by producing evidence of his identity to the election authorities. When this happens, the election commission intervenes and stops the counting in the particular constituency. A huge number of people, whose votes were cast by someone else approach the courts and the legal issue becomes complicated. The election commission is forced to countermand the election of the Government itself, minutes before the new Government was sworn in. In the new election held later, Vijay, the hero, manages to rope in 234 impeach ably honest individuals, who won 210 of the 234 seats that they contest as individuals. He faces quite a bit of threat to his life. He manages the fight sequences superbly. The film is very engaging and does not have a single moment that is boring. The songs do not register with the viewers. and only one song, "OMG ponnu" scores to some extent. Yet, this is quietly forgiven, since the story is so powerful.
The elected representatives elect him as the leader, but he settles for a retired IAS officer. This IAS officer is a subtle reference to a very honest IAS officer, whose name is Sagayam. There are already hundreds of thousands of people, in Tamil Nadu, who want his gentleman to be the new Chief Minister.
Vijay opts to sit in the opposition, mentioning that he would question every action of the Government. The film ends here.
Vijay has managed to do the maximum, in terms, of messages with specific references to a) the power of the individual voter b) the malice in Tamil Nadu c) the fight for a far better Government d) channelizing anger of youth.
The power of the individual voter Within three hours, when the main villain in this movie, a lady, with subtle references to the most corrupt Sasikala ( now in jail in the disproportionate assets case), makes a blunder. hundreds of thousands of voters who had still not voted at all on the election day, run up to the election booths to cast their vote. The individuals identified by Vijay win the election in 210 seats. There are powerful messages like why the people should not accept freebies or money offered by the parties for each vote. The film has stirred up the audiences like never before.
The ruling party is up in arms and a couple of scenes have been removed or muted. However, the damage has already been done. Millions have watched the original. The impact on the audiences has been huge. Vijay has managed to highlight what section 49(p) means. The power of the people is shown in a very dramatic way. This will make the most corrupt political class of Tamil Nadu, think for a while.
The malice in Tamil Nadu The Chief villain of this movie, the Chief Minister, is in reality, a very honest politician, who was in the current ruling party, but switched sides when he spoke against the massive corruption, even when Jayalalitha was alive. He was thrown out of the party. But his crusade continues. This honest politician has a huge reputation. The ruling party that is up in arms against Vijay and the director, has not spoken a single word against this person, who constantly talks about the well planned and superbly executed corruption in Tamil Nadu. Though he is now in the main Opposition party, the DMK, he has not stopped talking against corruption. The director has done a superb job of selecting such a person for a vital role.
The director successfully channels all the frustration of youth against the ruling party, though there are only subtle references to it. Still, the movie is a big warning to the ruling party against its corrupt ways.
The fight for a better Government It is only the Hindi factor that stops people from voting for the Congress or the BJP. That Hindi is sought to be imposed on Tamil Nadu, and consequently, Tamil is sought to be undermined, has never gone out of the minds of all Tamil people, including the educated. When asked to choose between Hindi and Tamil, millions would simply vote for Tamil. Even today, Hindi TV channels, are watched by a miserable two percent of the people. Tamil Nadu is perhaps the only State, where the bank transactions can be done in Tamil.
Yet, the Dravidian parties, both the DMK and the AiADMK have managed to do certain things that are far beyond what has happened elsewhere. The Governments have always been serious about elementary and secondary education. There is a 69% reservation. The Dravidian parties have been able to provide the basics and are superbly successful in creating what is proudly called "Tamil identity". The BJP is seen as enemy number one. The Congress, with its rather secular credentials, still has some following in Tamil Nadu.
It is in this context that the film attempts to do the impossible. What it does is to channelize the pent-up frustration of youth. This is a rather bold message, as all the 210 candidates who ultimately win the election are non-political candidates. There is a raging debate as to why a very honest communist politician called Nallakannu, has not even been referred to, by name. The inference is obvious. The criticism against the movie is simple: how can you afford to brand the entire political class of Tamil Nadu, as bad? Are there not honest political leaders still? One does not really know the answers, as, except the likes of Nallakannu, there are very few indeed, in the Kamaraj mould.
Channelizing anger of youth The youth of Tamil Nadu is a very angry lot. There are hundreds of thousands of educated youth, who long for a corrupt-free Government. This is exactly where this film called Sarkar scores. It has even shown a bunch of IIT students who act as volunteers to set up all IT infrastructure to take on the might of the political parties. The voice of the mother of the lady villain, who is sought to be murdered by the daughter herself, but saved in a bitter fight with goons, is recorded live on Facebook. It reaches millions of youth and the votes. Within three hours, the entire fate of the corrupt political class is sealed.
There is a subtle reference to the present number two -- the Deputy Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu. He is referred to as "rendu" (number two in Tamil). He plots against the Chief Minister, who dies out of an overdose of medicine, given by his own daughter.
The scenes involving the youth, and their active participation, augers well for Tamil Nadu. This movie is the first to directly hit the political class as a whole. It has shown what is rotten about Tamil Nadu.
Conclusion What we are now witnessing in Tamil Nadu is a big yearning for change. They want corruption to be less, though the Dravidian parties can never be challenged so quickly. Sarkar is a brilliant answer to this yearning for change. However, the stark realities in Tamil Nadu, are totally different. Those who earn around Rs.6000 per month, are still attracted by the money the corrupt politicians give to them, for their vote. How far the movie is able to change all this, remains to be seen.
Nevertheless, it will positively ring a bell in the minds of millions. This is where it has succeeded.
A well written review by the author. After going through the review I observe that the director or producer has taken up a very contemporary issue in this Tamil film and has shown the consequences of wrong voting in our election process.
Very few people might be aware of these rules in our election procedures which are highlighted in this movie. From that point of view, it is an informative and educative effort on the part of the producer to produce such a good movie impressing the viewers at large.
A nice review of the movie 'Sarkar' written by the author. It's a valid reason for anger against the election committee as the protagonist came from the US just to cast his vote and was not able to do it.
It's his honesty that he denies to become a CM and ask a retired IAS to occupy the chair.
After reading the review it seems it is a good movie and I am sure it will be dubbed in Hindi too. But the fact is there is very less chance of corruption during polling like it used to happen in the past. Vijay is a very good actor. He does well in fight scenes. It's a good movie and one should watch it.