Cop panchayat

Last week I ran into my daughter’s school teacher, who in the course of the conversation, said that parents should set a personal example and stay off from TV if they are keen on weaning their children away from watching stuff on the small screen. That evening I told my daughter, in a no-nonsense manner, that she cannot watch TV, and before she could raise her voice in usual protest, I, again quickly taking control in a firm parental voice, conveyed to her that we were going for a movie instead.

The film was Singam –II (Lion), and it began with the animated montage of an energetic animal running in. The animal was  — as can be guessed easily from the title — the horse. Yes, seriously. Apparently, horse is the insignia of the company that has produced the movie.

The film as such, which is a sequel to the hugely successful Singam, takes off from where the previous one ended with the eponymous Doraisingam (Surya) telling the State Home Minister that he will become an undercover police and keep tabs on international criminals who have chosen to operate out of Tuticorin, as the port town has become strategically important in the light of fact that the film’s director Hari bases most of his movies out of here.

Right off the bat, Doraisingam, now no longer a police and just an ordinary man in the eyes of the public, realises that he has to gather information on the dreaded gangsters without unduly attracting the suspicion of any one in the dock area. This he smartly accomplishes by boisterously singing and dancing with a busty girl on ships and on shore.

Since an out of work police cavorting around with a woman dressed like a cheerleader hardly elicits extra attention, Doraisingam gathers vital leads, which as the story progresses we also realise to be information that the entire city is aware of but not the investigating police.

Away from his surreptitious police duties, Doraisingam is employed as an NCC master in a local school because it is the kind of post that gives him the space to carry out secret enquiries? No, it is the role that gives the film’s director leeway to show him in the same ferocious moustache that he sported as a police. Otherwise, purely from the story point of view, it would not have mattered even if Doraisingam were shown as the Pope.

It is essentially a nondescript small-town school, exactly the unpretentious kind where one of the students comes in a self-driven Merc. And we thought SOTY (Student Of The Year) was over the top.

Doraisingam is such a doughty disciplinarian that he violently pummels out, almost to the point of killing, a bunch of ruffians who committed the major crime of not staying still while the national anthem was being sung. He, however, overlooks the fact that a school student who cannot possibly be over 18 years, cannot have got a driver’s licence. Why? The thinking policeman that he is, Doraisingam was bound to have realised that the schoolgirl may be under-18, but the actress playing the schoolgirl is anyway over-18. You may feel this is to be surreal and stupid reasoning, but this is the zany logical sense that permeates the film where the policeman-hero, upon learning that a bunch of armed goons were on their way to bump him off, smashes down his department pistol so that he can take on the thugs bare-handed.

But in general Doraisingam guns down criminals with impunity, intercepts private telephone conversation with insouciance, uses cell phone jammers at will and does so many other things that had Snowden known all these he would not have possibly sought asylum in India.

As a matter of fact, right in the first quarter of the movie, the hero figures out who the villains are and what they are up to. But he chooses to bide his time for the sensible reason that the film’s climax is still an hour away.

Though the end is not difficult to predict, the director makes you feel that the film is racy, mostly by playing the frames in the fast-forward mode. Seriously, the camera never rests. And the hero too is constantly on the move, running or chasing or fighting, and he hardly ever sits in a place. Either they wanted to establish him as a bundle of energy or that he might have actually contracted a complicated case of piles due to the bellowing and hollering he does before biffing the malcontents.

On the whole, you cannot help feel the film to be sexist, jingoist and racist. But to be fair, watching it doesn’t cause scurvy or diabetes. Anyway, it is exactly the kind of film that everyone tells you not to watch. But everyone actually watches. While a film like, say, Mahanadi, while it gets praised universally, hardly gets any viewership whenever it is shown on TV. Nobody even tunes into the channel on that day. Why?

I blame my daughter’s teacher.