Laabam’ movie review: Vijay Sethupathi is the ‘Master’ now, delivering a social studies lecture

Sugandh chetry
Sugandh chetry

“Agriculture won’t die. I’ve come to do agriculture .”Pakiri (Vijay Sethupathi0 says this with quite some conviction as he enters Peruvayal, a village he left a few years ago to embark on the world tour.

Laabam is directed by SP Jananathan. The cast of this film is Vijay Sthupathi, Shruti Hasan, Jgapathi Babu, Kalaiarasan, and Ramesh Thilak. Run Time of this film is 2 hours and 23 minutes, The film is in the Tamil language.

Long-maned Pakkiri (Vijay Sethupathi) turns up at a village, much to the relief of its denizens. Very soon, we find out that Pakkiri is not here on some rustic getaway, but with the serious aim of helping implement community farming in the area. And that’s all it takes for Laabam to launch into a long and fully-loaded class on agriculture, corporate encroachment, and the importance of farming

Pakiri also took a fakir and was disheveled and unkempt, but he’s still supposed to be a hero in commercial Tamil Cinema. And so within a few minutes of seeing him on the big -screen, we see him engaging in a pointlessly elaborated fight sequence and impromptu dance track.

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But did we just mean pointless? Just wait until we are about to be bombarded by tons and lots of points now. Throughout this 2-hour 29 minutes social studies lecture against the peril of capitalism. Packed with so many statistics as well a factor that might probably please director AR Murugadoss.

Laaban is essentially Vijay Sethupathi championing the cause of agriculture more specifically collective farming practices but that one which requires a villain and he comes in the form of Vanagamudi. He wants to be in charge of the local farmers association and control farming practices and costs but he has to come face-to-face with Pakiri, positioned as a people’s leader, to do that.

The intention behind the film is noble no doubt (the brainchild of late director SP Jhananathan, the man behind films like Iyarkai and E) but the writing is as barren as the farms shown in it. Those that haven’t seen a hint of green in the last few decades. A case in point is that if we say Pakiri and the team find it tough convincing the villages of their grand plan and so rope in the dancer called Clara (Shruti Hassan) to help them out, and the sequence that follows is ludicrous.

In the second half, Laaban gets a slightly different texture with Pakiri ditching his home grounds and getting on the run. You think something is brewing, but soon the all-too-familiar corporate greed versus farming practices angle creeps up. And we’re subjected to long lectures on sugar production cottom sales and fair farming practices.

In the middle of all this Vijay Sathupathi is riding his bullet that has a registration number TMX 4777, the same as matinee idol MGR’s Ambassador car. Laban is a more visual representation of the protagonist in a television program (Namma Ooru Hero, which celebrates everyday heroes in a different field) than a film.

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