There are intelligent filmmakers who make sure their screenplays, cast and plot are so finely worked that the audience gets about ten times its money's worth.
And then there are filmmakers like Silambarasan, who are equally intelligent, but prefer using lewd choreography and hackneyed plots to make 'successful' movies for those who require nothing but titillation.
Lakshmi Movie Makers's Tamil film Silambattam, directed by debutant director Saravanan, is one such.
As you watch a devout Vichu (Silambarasan) sing devotional songs in the Kumbakonam temple, even subduing a frenzied elephant, you wonder if the 'Little Super Star' (as he likes to be called) is actually going to attempt something different in a done-to-death Brahmin role.
But no, he is immediately eyed lustfully by heroine Janu (newcomer Sana Khan), massaged (!) by all the young girls and mamis in the agraharam. He is egged on by Sama's (Santhanam) tasteless and lewd comments, and acts out the part of an innocent and naive youngster brought up to think only of God by his grandfather (Nedumudi Venu).
But this softie exterior conceals a mass of iron -- as demonstrated by the way he can crush 40 thugs single-handedly, courtesy excellent stunts by Kanal Kannan.
But Vichu's destiny is obviously not going to let this consummate warrior live peacefully in some godforsaken village. Amidst Sama's double entendres and Janu's proposals, he catches the attention of one of Muthuvelar's (Prabhu's) henchmen and is immediately identified as the son of long lost brother Thamizharasan (Silambarasan in another role as his father).
Cue for a snazzy flashback with Yuvan Shankar Raja's inimitable background score, and you see Silambarasan don a bushy hairstyle, tie his veshti around his waist and dance around like Karthi in Paruthiveeran. It might be a little over the top but here, he is completely natural, with a certain in-your-face sauciness that can't fail to captivate.
As Thamizh, he's the devoted yet feisty brother to Muthuvelar, eager to get into fights and defy the local villains Veera Thevar (Ponvannan) and his cohort Pandi (Raghav). The two families are at each others' throats all the time.
Amid all this, Thamizh finds time to romance Gayatri (Sneha), an orthodox Brahmin girl. The two meet clandestinely every night, and that serves to save Thamizh when he is accused of killing Veera Thevar. Retribution follows him, though, in the guise of Veera Thevar's young son, Durai Singam (Kishore).
It looks like Silambarasan has temporarily given up aping Rajini and has instead taken up Ajith to worship (or sneering, depending on your point of view.) When Vichu learns the truth about his father and decides to take revenge, he apes the new Billa, complete with the musical score (it helps that Yuvan scored for both), speaks four different languages, sings lewd songs and bashes up several hundred men, courtesy his legendary strength.
You almost wish Silambarasan had stayed as Thamizh -- he seemed much more natural. Despite her very brief role, Sneha manages to create an impact. Sana Khan, as befitting any Silambarasan heroine, wears clothes that get skimpier in each frame and dances her legs off. Santhanam and Manobala contribute nothing, while Prabhu, Kishore and Nedumudi Venu are duly wasted.
The movie's biggest strengths are its music -- suitably kuthu-fied -- and its stunts. Both Kanal Kannan and Yuvan have gone all out for this Little Star, and it shows. Where is the Party Tonight? is ruling the FM waves, while Machan Machan is quite melodious.
With its humbugging story and bash-fest theme, Silambattam appears to have everything lined up for a B and C Centre win. But if you're a discerning viewer, stay away.