One of the most fascinating stories that I read while growing up was Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. The concept of a split personality was an intriguing subject that was one of the reasons that drew me to the story. It just amazes me how a human brain is capable of residing multiple personalities of the same individual. It is truely the most powerful organ and the one that sets the humans apart from any other species. And with that I finished watching the new Tamil flick Tughlaq Durbar on Netflix starring Vijay Sethupathi who I regard as one of the best actors that we have in our country at the moment. This film aired yesterday on Sun TV and now has released a day later on Netflix. The interesting bit was that I did not watch its trailer before sinking my teeth into this film and hence I did not know what to expect other than another acting masterclass by Vijay Sethupathi. So then is the film worth your time, stay tuned.
Story & Screenplay
Tughlaq Durbar follows the story of a young man who aspires to be a politician until an unexpected twist stalls him from his dream. The story is a political satire with ample amounts of humour, somevof which is black as well. Simply the concept here against the backdrop of politics is so unique that it instantly draws you to it. The screenplay was tricky to pull off but the good news is that it is very well thought out and written. The very fact that some people blindly follow their political idols turning a blind eye on the consequences is just so well portrayed here. Right from the opening scene, we get a gist of the nature of our protagonist and his political ambitions featuring his idol. Here the drama is not heavy, instead the chain of events are presented in a comic manner which is refreshing too. The twist in the tale after about 25 minutes changes the course of the film. And from here on you witness what was my favourite performance by an actor this year(probably on par with Fahadh Faasil from Joji and Malik) which I will get to in my next segment. The flips(and not twists) that you witness onscreen will tickle your funny bone and you will find yourself laughing hysterically. The screenplay in the second hour becomes a tad convoluted but still enough to keep you invested leading up to a finale which was a little lukewarm for me. Things get slightly melodramatic and a bit out of hand but nothing major to derail the film. In other words, a compelling display of screenplay writing!
Dialogues, Music & Direction
The dialogues are extremely well penned and they leave a lasting impression. Please note that this is a dialogue heavy film and so this may seem to divert your attention away but if you stay focussed you will end up loving it. The music is good here although there was a song too many here. The BGM is memorable with that theme of the ‘flip’ continuing to play out in my head as I type this review. Director Delhi Prasad Deenadayal has done a terrific job here. The subject was tricky and it could have gone drastically wrong but he is in full control of the story here which translate well onscreen. In other words, the direction is top notch.
The performances are pretty good. Samyuktha Karthik as Damayanthi is first rate in a cameo. Manjima Mohan as Manimegalai is pretty good in limited scope which she gets here, I just wished her role was slightly better written. Raashi Khanna as Kamatchi looks pretty and does a good job as well. Karunakaran as Vasu is excellent and a perfect foil to our protagonist. Parthiban as Rayappan is brilliant. You may remember him from the brilliant film Oththu Serappu Size 9 which is highly recommended from my end. He really gets into the skin of his character here is he is a worthy nemesis to our protagonist. Which brings me to my favourite performance of the year! Vijay Sethupathi as Singam is brilliance personified. This was indeed an extremely complex character to pull off, and the ease with which he does is simply outstanding. Notice the shift in his expressions almost immediately while playing his dual roles. He is perhaps the most versatile actor doing the rounds at the moment and his repertoire speaks volumes of his range as an actor. This is one helluva acting masterclass if there ever was one – one of my favourites from this year.
Tughlaq Durbar is a brilliant and refreshing concept executed with near perfection. This is the one to watch and savour! Available on Netflix and Highly Recommended.