With Sandakozhi 2, Vishal reprises his role as Balu, the Jallikattu bull who isn’t afraid of a good fight, even if it’s with the most dangerous gangster in the cluster of small towns. Keerthy Suresh (Mahanati, Bairavaa) plays Sembaruthi, his love interest, and Varalaxmi Sarathkumar stars Pechi, as one of the lead villains.
When director Lingusamy made Sandakozhi in 2005, he changed the way fight scenes were choreographed. It was the time of AR Murugadoss’ Ghajini and Hari’s Aaru, with rowdies who weighed 350-500kg flying around in the air, and falling across the street in fast forward shots, with ‘strings attached’, if you know what I mean.
Sandakozhi boosted the aesthetic of fights in Tamil cinema through beautiful use of sound, extreme slow motion (as opposed to speeding things up) and the curious effect of bad guys bouncing off the ground, instead of flying upwards.
Does Sandakozhi 2 recreate the magic of the Vishal brand of fighting?
Where Everyone Knows You
There’s a scene half an hour into the film, where Keerthi Suresh breaks into dance in the middle of a village festival, to the accompaniment of hand drums. She almost seems like a little girl putting on a performance for her relatives.
It is this vibe, the camaraderie of the tribe, that carries the film forward, bearing on its shoulders comedy, romance and feelings of loyalty. This is what puts into context a bloody factional feud that is sparked by something as silly as being served one leg of mutton less than the guy eating next to you.
Lingusamy does it again?
Yes and no. The thing about Lingusamy is that he has a way of wrapping a boring scene in slo-mo batter and deep frying it in Yuvan Shankar’s BGM. It worked beautifully in Sandakozhi (Vishal), and then in Paiyaa (Karthi) and in Vettai (Aarya and Madhavan).
It doesn’t translate as well in Sandakozhi 2. Like Hari’s Saamy 2, it’s too predictable and the nostalgia of the first installment wears off before the film ends.
Tamil cinema featuring rural settings tend to work with assertive female roles. Vijaykanth’s Chinna Kaunder, Kamal Haasan’s Devar Magan and Vishal’s Thimiru all have plot lines that the women move forward.
Of these, Thimiru is the only film that has a female antagonist, played scarily by Shreya Reddy. Lingusamy ought to have called this film Thimiru 2. Varalaxmi Sarathkumar plays a similarly unhinged woman baying for the hero’s blood, driving the men of the family crazy, egging them on by puncturing their egos. As a female lead, she’s had little success. But as a villain, she’s truly boss. Hopefully, she plays a negative role in the upcoming Vijay flick Sarkar!
Does the Sequel Work?
After Saamy 2 and Vishwaroopam 2, Sandakozhi 2 bites the dust of failed remakes. The only thing going for this movie is the nostalgia and that village vibe that’s captured in a riot of colour and dance-worthy music. As a direct to TV release, I’d watch it on Dussehra or Diwali. After all, it’s still a Lingusamy film. And Vishal fighting the bad guys.
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