'Something needs to be done,' says the screen in a scrawled hand at the end of Karu Palaniappan's Sivappathigaaram. The stupefied audience leaves, wondering what could really be done to salvage the movie.
Vishal, the hero, has just finished uttering a 5 minute soliloquy on reforms about elections that could have been lifted from a Marxist-Leninist underground -- after committing at least four deeds that were termed as the highest form of class struggle by 'the loony left' -- in other words cold-blooded murders.
The last one is committed before millions of people waiting to pray to a Hindu deity on the banks of Vaigai river in Madurai -- just to send shivers down the spine of the political class and defeat their machinations before an election. The said election has been postponed anyway by an imaginary election commissioner who has mastered the art of looking straight at the camera and speaking, as though reading from a teleprompter.
The plot (if it can be called that) revolves around an IAS officer turned professor (Raghuvaran), and his insane urge to correct the political system under the guise of researching Tamil folk songs in an unbelievably idyllic village, assisted by ex-student (Vishal). The effort vanishes into nothingness halfway through the film and after half a dozen songs.
The professor's daughter (Mamta Mohandas) falls for the hero like a ton of bricks before being picked by the police for virtually no offence other than travelling in a train, and going wistful over a few dream sequences. In between these takes, there is a flashback complete with blood and gore in the form of students murdered by an angry politician.
Then, ahem, comes the climax on the Vaigai river, where millions of real Hindu devotees end up being extras.
Vidyasagar has attempted to tune some folk songs seriously but it is evident that he too lost interest in the proceedings, perhaps knowing the futility of it all.
The villainy is provided by Kanja Karuppu and Rajan, but adds more to the misery of the viewers than of the heroes.