Dharmadurai – Review:
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Cast: Vijay Sethupathi, Aishwarya Rajesh, Tamannaah, Srushti Dange, Radhika, Rajesh, Ganja Karuppu, Arul Doss.
Music: Yuvan Shankar Raja
Direction: Seenu Ramasamy.

Dharmadurai -The third movie from Seenu Ramasamy – Vijay Sethupathi combo (“Thenmerku Paruvakatru”, the yet to be released “Idam Porul Yeval”), and the first movie of Vijay Sethupathi, bearing the title of an yesteryear Rajnikanth hit(if you ignore Karthi’s “Naan Mahaan Alla” where he played a small role), besides the huge star cast naturally raised expectations. With his 4th release of the year, has Vijay Sethupathi succeeded in appealing to the masses and classes alike?

Plot and Performances :
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Basically there’s nothing as such as a plot here, as the movie is all about the life journey of Dharmadurai, and the beautiful at heart women, hatred spewing family, memorable friends, love, and pains in his life,and how he settles down to a life he loves.

The movie is shouldered ably by “Makkal Selvan” Vijay Sethupathi, lives his role here, and his biggest strength is his ability to make the audience love even his flaws. Dharmadurai offers Vijay, different shades – a college student, Passionate Doctor, a lover, and a Drunkard, and he excels in all of them, with consummate ease. Be it the way he shakes legs in the “Makka Kalanguthapaa” number (He may not be a great dancer, but even his simplest moves with a very casual body language makes them look great on screen!), or the way he falls for Aishwarya Rajesh, the scenes where he breaks down to tears, or the scene where he asks Tamannaah if she had loved him – Vijay Sethupathi is a joy to watch on screen. Close on heels of Vijay Sethupathi’s act, is Aishwarya Rajesh, who delivers an innocent, cute performance as the lovable Kamakkapatti Anbuselvi. When it comes to lifelike, simple girl roles with zero makeup and strong scope to perform, among the current crop of actresses in Tamil, Aishwarya is the best bet, as she transforms totally and gets into the skin of the roles she plays(Following Kaaka Muttai, this is yet another memorable Role).Though Tamannaah gets to play a role that requires her to look natural (unlike her typical eye candy acts in mass masalas), which happened way back in 2007 in Kalloori earlier, the poor lip sync at places mars the impact her role must have created, making it a passable performance. Srushti Dange’s role lacks the detailing it must have had, that it doesn’t leave any emotional impact, and looks like a forced addition. The veterans that they are, Radhika and Rajesh perform their small roles convincingly.Ganja Karuppu evokes a few laughs,while Arul Doss appears in an insignificant role.

Music and Technical Departments :
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While Yuvan Shankar Raja’s BGM is nowhere close to his best, he makes a mark with the pleasant “Aandipatti” number, made even more beautiful visually with the wonderful chemistry between Vijay Sethupathi and Aishwarya Rajesh. M.Sukumar’s cinematography brings memories of his work in “Kumki”, beautifully capturing the hilly locales,with some splendid top angle shots, delivering a visually appealing rustic experience.

Direction :
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Despite giving 4 films in different genres,a big commercial success had been eluding Seenu Ramasamy. Adding to his woes is the uncertainty over the release of his 4th movie Idam Porul Yeval. It was in this scenario that the actor – director combo of Vijay Sethupathi – Seenu Ramasamy decided to join hands, and
mentor Seenu Ramasamy, knowing Vijay Sethupathi’s strength of making the audience emotionally connect with any role he gets to play with his natural performances, has opted for a very simple tale, completely controlled by the actor. Though we’ve seen many movies based on life journeys of protagonists,and their love stories, the best example being Cheran’s Autograph, what sets apart Dharmadurai, is that it’s a movie completely relying on performances than the screenplay, which is exactly where Seenu goes down. While failing to establish several core emotional connects like the bond between Radhika and Vijay, and the strained relationship between Vijay Sethupathi and his brothers, and the conflicts in a strong manner, Seenu dedicates most of his runtime in the first half to the college sequences which look artificial, without adding any significant strength to the leisurely paced screenplay. While he resorts to songs and a few cliched college sequences to establish the friendship between Tamannaah and Vijay, Seenu also misses out on an opportunity to compensate for that by emphasizing more on Aishwarya Rajesh’s Kamakkapatti Anbuselvi sequences. Her quick exit only leaves the audience wanting for more from this hastily made rural drama. Despite the cliches, and the drags in the screenplay, Vijay Sethupathi rises above all with his towering screen presence and natural charm,making you enjoy the feel good rustic life journey of Doctor Dharmadurai.

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P.S: Vijay Sethupathi is in the form of his life, to say the least,and after experimenting initially, he’s been silently tasting success continuously in the commercial zone as well with films like Sethupathi, Kaadhalum Kadandhu pogum.etc. With 4 more releases lined up to release this year, we only wish Vijay Sethupathi maintains the perfect balance between Vijay Sethupathi the actor and Vijay Sethupathi the star by alternating class and mass. Expecting more exciting ventures from the gifted actor, who’s been presenting the audience with some memorable movie experiences.

VERDICT: Vijay Sethupathi’s one man show leads Dharmadurai to success.

Rating:
6.5/10

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