Singapore Saloon,’ starring RJ Balaji, Sathyaraj, Kishen Das, Lal, and many more, was directed by Gokul, known for his comedy entertainers ‘Idharkkuthaane Aasaipattai Balakumara,’ ‘Kashmora,’ and ‘Junga.’ The movie was released on the 25th of January and has been running successfully in theatres.
RJ Balaji’s rare gem is his seamless blend of real personalities and fictional characters, providing a special charm to his performances. In ‘Singapore Saloon,’ Balaji’s portrayal of Kathir goes beyond mere storytelling, breathing life into a character who defies social norms and follows his passion despite all circumstances.
Blend of Genres and Performances
RJ Balaji, playing the protagonist of this story, chose to portray the character subtly throughout the movie, allowing the other characters in the movie to have more scope to perform. RJ Balaji delivers what a hairdresser needs instead of following the template. It’s evident that he improvises from one movie to another, choosing scripts wisely rather than chasing fame.
Following this, Sathyaraj steals the show in this movie. RJ Balaji’s father-in-law is portrayed as a stingy guy willing to pour back the drink in a bottle when offered to buy a drink. Sathyaraj brilliantly portrayed this character, and his screen presence made the audience go wild. The pre-interval sequence, where Sathyaraj gets drunk and obtains the cheque, was a thrilling rollercoaster ride.
Singapore Saloon features around three notable cameos from the south, including Arvind Swamy, Jeeva, and Lokesh Kanagaraj. These cameos were enjoyable and did not disrupt the movie’s flow. Robo Shankar, portraying RJ Balaji’s brother-in-law, and Kishen Das delivered exactly what was needed. Ann Sheetal appeared in few scenes, but she executed them flawlessly. Unfortunately, Meenakshi Chaudhary, the female lead, has less screen time throughout the film.
Gokul’s Directorial Brilliance
Gokul, who has an incredible talent for creating comedy scenes, has excelled at this, too. Gokul’s writing in the first half is truly impressive as it is filled with a lot of funny moments and lighter stuff where the protagonist’s suffering felt real, and the progression from a teenager to a man chasing his dream was perfect. The portrayal of the struggling and selfless character of the protagonist is a major plus for the movie.
The film felt laggy at a point where the second half was more of a soapy drama than the first half. The protagonist’s struggles were incessantly piling up one after another, and he felt forced, as did the antagonist, who seemed like a dummy. Cut to the good part: Gokul introduces new spin-off characters like Kathir’s dad, encouraging him to pursue his dreams rather than the usual template father characters. The antagonist, who typically seeks to make the protagonist suffer, decides to refrain from torturing him and opts to let them both become successful in life. The portrayal of the parrot was innovative, seamlessly woven into the narrative. For instance, it conveyed a poignant message: “Birds return to their habitat even if they have been chased, unlike humans who often forget their true place and habitat in the pursuit of living.”
Film’s Sonic and Visual Craft
The film’s background score was composed by Javed Riaz, known for his commendable work in Maanagaram. The music, crafted by the renowned duo Vivek-Mervin, usually recognized for enhancing movies with their songs, unfortunately fell short in this instance. The songs proved to be quite average and lacked memorability. The cinematography, skillfully executed by M. Sukumar, excellently captured the scenic landscapes and mountain views of Tenkasi. It effectively portrayed the urban struggles devoid of unnecessary nuances.
‘Singapore Saloon’ is an entertaining watch for audiences who enjoy a mix of comedy, sentiment, and motivational elements. However, the film’s narrative could be perceived as the story taking a genre shift, and some viewers might find it difficult to adapt to the storyline, as the first half was primarily occupied with fun-filled scenes. The second half delves into the identity crisis, the struggle of slum people, and the journey of a hairstylist.
While ‘Singapore Saloon’ offers moments of fun and excitement, it may be more to some people’s liking due to its somewhat disjointed narrative and ambitious fusion of different genres. Nevertheless, RJ Balaji and Sathyaraj’s performances, along with the film’s technical aspects, make it worth a watch for fans of Tamil cinema.