If you've ever wanted to go back to the dashing single-hero subjects of yore, with snazzy outfits, glitzy, overflowing heroines, cool outdoor shoots with a screenplay that's practically non-existent, then RSK Pictures' Tamil film 1977 is just for you.
G N Dhinesh Kumar has directed the film which stars Tamil James Bond, R Sarath Kumar. Except that here, he's less of Bond, and more of bland.
Not that you expect much from Sarath Kumar any more. Gone are the days when he actually made some overtures towards acting and managed to come up with passable performances. These days, his formula is pretty simple: play both father and son, get the girl, kill crooks -- wham, bham and that's it.
The story starts in a small hamlet along the seashore, where an infirm Rasaiyya aka Rajasekar [Sarath Kumar] lives in amity with his old friend [Ilavarasu], minding his own business and being the godfather of the whole place. Predictably, there's a younger version as well, Vetrivel [Sarath again], this time as a dashing, face-lifted, 'internationally renowned' scientist who gets awards wherever he goes.
The elderly dad spots something in a newspaper about Malaysian events that gives him an instant heart-attack and for the first [and last] time, you sit up genuinely interested in what's going to happen next.
More predictably, Vetrivel needs to find out what exactly what made his father pop off and more importantly, what the peculiar cross he had inscribed with the worlds 'Church of Malacca' means. So off he jets to Malaysia, where he meets Paraman [Vivek], a journalist dressed in the skimpiest of clothes [Farsana] who romps at the drop of a hat. She aids him in finding the truth about his father, who's labelled a murderer in Malaysia, and supposedly escaped prison.
Oh yes, there's a steamy lawyer as well -- Chandni [Namitha] who wears shirts whose buttons could pop off any moment. Together, the trio dance, sing, intermittently dream and remember to research Vetri's father's history. They then stumble upon Thenmozhi [Jayasudha]. No questions about how an academically-oriented scientist can fight like Bruce Lee. As for what really happens later, who really cares?
For Sarath Kumar, this movie clearly is the make-or-break kind. He's fought, danced, sang and done everything a hero is supposed to be doing. Here he goes though the motions looking either constipated or sick. Not that he's ever been great shakes when it comes to acting, but here he has really tried. Dhinesh Kumar's screenplay makes sure nothing works, though.
Namitha and Farzana both spill out of their clothes enough to ensure plenty of catcalls and whistles; not that any heroine has anything to do in such a movie. Anal Arasu and William Wong have given their best in the stunts department.
Bubathy K's camera-work zips across each scene confidently, bringing beautiful Malaysia to life, while Antony's editing is slick. Vidhyasagar's music is no great shakes, however.
1977 might have worked had it been released in 1977 and not in 2009!