This columnist recently wrote these lines: “Tamil Nadu politics has always had the raciness of a masala movie. And in the last three or four days, it has acquired the fast-forward speed of the scenes in director Hari’s movies in which you cannot find out where one scene ends and where another starts. It is all flash-cut flashiness.”
This week, the raciness of TN politics was out there in the open for every one to see. To check out the speed in a Hari movie, this columnist went out and saw Singam 3. And this columnist came out of the hall and reached his home 5 kms away in five seconds flat, carried as he was by the sheer force in the film.
Not really. But you know it. The thing is Singam 3 is a racy, blurring ride, where if you close your eyes for sneezing — bless you! — you will probably miss three scenes.
Here we will discuss some aspects of the film and its story — big spoiler alert — even though there is no real story.
Duraisingam, the eponymous Singam, returns as the mean fighting machine on a mission, and perpetual motion. Seriously, this is probably the only film where the hero never really gets to sit in a place. Duraisingam is always on the move. Even when he is seated, it is mostly inside an already moving vehicle. Someone really needs to check how Hari has internalised the meaning of motion picture.
We saw Duraisingam chase the criminals, physically outrun them and then bash them up in the previous two films in Singam franchise. In Singam 3, he chases the criminals, physically outruns them and then bashes up them. Just that, here the criminals are speeding on SUVs. In Singam 4, he will probably run and catch the baddies escaping on a Concorde.
Okay, let’s cut to the chase, or in this case, the many chases: Andhra government is in a fix as it is unable to crack the murder of Vizag police commissioner. The State Home Minister, however, has a brainwave: Give the case to Duraisingam. But there is one wrinkle in the plan: Duraisingam is a TN policeman. Luckily, the Home Minister has another brainwave: Handover the case to the CBI and ask TN police to handover Duraisingam to the CBI. But wait, the villains should not get alerted that Duraisingam is on the case. You will not believe your luck, the Home Minister is on a brainwave spree: He hands over the entire L & O policing of Vizag to the CBI. If he had any more brainwave, he would have merged Vizag and CBI.
But despite such brilliant tactics, the villains are alerted and send their goondas to take on Duraisingam when he arrives at Vizag railway station. Duraisingam fights them all, not one bit inconvenienced by the fact that he is more formally dressed (tie and fully-buttoned full-hand sleeved shirt) than most grooms at their wedding receptions.
The highlight of this fight is the sensational hidden directorial touch: As Duraisingam mercilessly pummels the henchmen, one of them lands on a weighing scale and, oh! my god, the scale zooms to 1500 kg. Don’t get it? You fool, that is a symbolic reference to the now iconic ‘ongi adicha ondra ton weightu da‘ line. (‘I hit with the heaviness of one-and-a-half tonnes‘). There are a few other quaint Easter-eggs in the film: Singam has saved his wife’s phone number under the name — why not?— Puli.
Duraisingam gets down to the job of tracking down the criminals through the time-tested CBI tactics of dancing with half-clad women in shady bars and in general amiably hanging out with criminals without anyway arousing their suspicion.
During the investigation into the murder case, Duraisingam also stumbles on to a bigger crime of cross-continent dumping of e-waste and medi-waste involving a high-profile son of a Union Minister, who has to be venal because it is played by Suman.
To make headway in the case, Duraisingam needs someone who can help him to break barriers of technology. Again, as luck would have it, a ‘hacker’ is at hand serving a jail term. The hacker possesses phenomenal skills: 1. He tracks people using signals from their mobile phones. 2. He tracks people using the signals from the nearby persons’ mobile phone. 3. And during the frenetic final stages of the film, when none of us can understand what is happening on screen (because things happen at the speed of Sumanth Raman speaking in DD SportsQuiz), the hacker more or less tracks anything in any place provided there is a mobile phone in 100 kms vicinity. Well, almost.
Duraisingam and the hacker manage to download details of the criminal activities of the villain (he had helpfully stored them all on his servers) by gaining entry through their wi-fi system. How Duraisingam gets access to their wi-fi system is a lesson in criminal investigation. He walks into villain’s office to meet him, and while he is asked to wait, Duraisingam smartly gets the wi-fi password known by asking the lady at the reception desk, ‘can I have your wi-fi password?’ And she gives it. Seriously.
Somewhere during the hectic turn of events, Duraisingam resigns as TN police and formally joins Andhra police force. But why? I didn’t care to figure out. Because by then, as a viewer, I was just — Hari will approve of it — going through the motions.