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Sindhubaadh Review: In Sindhubaadh, Vijay Sethupathi plays a role that is closer to that of a mass hero, but stops just short of being one. His Thiru is a thief who picks pockets and steals from the affluent, with help from his protégé Super (Surya Vijay Sethupathi, who makes a confident debut in an enjoyable role of a sidekick). He is a little hard of hearing, a quirk that Arun Kumar employs to good comic effect. The scenes between Thiru and Super are easily the film’s highlight, with their easy-going camaraderie endearing us to these characters. Their scenes with George Maryan, who plays Thiru’s uncle, bring a chuckle, especially the stories that they tell him as the other’s past.
A chance encounter with Venba (Anjali), a contract labourer in Malaysia, who had come to her native on leave, makes Thiru fall in love with her. He starts wooing her, and seeing that he is good at heart, she starts reciprocating much against the wishes of her family. But soon, she leaves for Malaysia, and the next time Thiru hears her, she is pleading with him to come and rescue her from Thailand. And so, with Super tagging along, he goes to Thailand, but earns the wrath of Ling (Linga), a dreaded gangster.
The first half of Sindhubaadh is easily its finest, bearing the stamp of Arun Kumar, who fills it with enjoyable humour, cutesy romance and Vijay Sethupathi-isms. The scene transitions are smooth, Yuvan Shankar Raja’s songs foot-tapping and Vijay Kartik Kannan’s painterly visuals appealing.
But the film somewhat stumbles in the second half, after Thiru faces off against Ling. The problem is that despite the build up to his character, Ling doesn’t come across as a powerful antagonist. We get one too many scenes of Thiru and Super evading Ling’s endless henchmen that things get tiresome after a point. Arun Kumar also stretches plausibility after a point. An exposition involving the operations of the skin trade syndicate also lacks the finesse that we see elsewhere in the craft. But if the film manages to hold our interest, it is mainly because we have come to care about these characters. Vijay Sethupathi’s portrayal of Thiru as a hero with vulnerabilities also infuses some tension into these portions. These things ensure that even if Sindhubaadh isn’t as satisfying as Arun Kumar’s previous films, Pannaiyarum Padminiyum and Sethupathi, it isn’t entirely a letdown either