Director Seenu Ramasamy’s art specialises in village subjects; after two critically acclaimed films Thenmerku Paruvakaatru and Neerparavai, director Seenu Ramasamy is back with Dharmadurai, a satisfying rural drama starring Vijay Sethupathi, Tamannaah, Aishwarya Rajesh, Srushti Dange, Radhika and a host of other actors. Set against a rural backdrop, the film tells a tale of simmering family feuds, revenge, romance, heartbreak and sacrifice.
The story revolves around Dharma played by Vijay Sethupathi, a doctor by profession who loves his job and helps his village people. As life seem to go on a happy note for him, a tragic event leaves him lamented. There are three stages of his life where you get to see a caring mother for him played by Radhika, the friction with his brothers and of course his college life that led him to become a doctor and more. Seenu Ramasamy comes out with an absorbing rural based family drama where Vijay Sethupathi rocks and steals the show.
The first half of the film is light and breezy with a tinge of humour to it, while the second half is a decent concoction of romance, revenge and a contrived climax. The way the story unfolds keep you hooked with some light moments and funny one-liners from Ganja Karrupu who is a scream. In spite of the slow and sluggish moments, what keeps the film going are the emotional moments of Vijay Sethupathi and the second half flash back that takes the front seat. Dialogues by Seenu Ramasamy sparkle with pertinent emotions.
The stand out element in the film is Vijay Sethupathi, who has managed to attach his performance to the nativity of the location to the best of his ability. Dharma as the drunkard doctor knocks it out of the park but when he plays a medical student and later becomes a doctor, there is an aberrant pattern which lingers in his character. Radhika, as the caring and emotional mother has churned out a nifty performance. On the other hand after Kalloori, Tamannaah comes back to her natural best with less makeup, bold and with her convincingly luminous performance breathes life into character making it believable with her earnestness. Aishwarya Rajesh is a revelation; she is perfectly cast as the village belle and acts with the required dignity and grace. Veteran actor Rajesh impresses as well, as does MS Bhaskar. Srushti Dange doesn’t get much to do with her weak character, the college episodes do not really work out as it intended to be in the first half.
Technically the film is solid, Yuvan’s music is top notch who delivers an endearing music which is in sync with the rural setting, certainly the high point of the film. Be it songs or background score, he has acted as the backbone of the film. Cinematography by Sukumar is good throughout the film with a lot of depth in the closeups and some neatly framed crane shots that illustrate the beauty of the backdrop. Editing by Kasi could have been better as the film takes too much time in getting into the story.
To sum it up, what goes against the film is the uneven narration and everything is played out on the surface which leaves little impact on the audience. May not be bang-up, however, this rural drama can be watched for the social message, the sincere efforts invested by the lead cast and uncomplicated entertainment and realistic approach coming again from director Seenu Ramasamy.
Our rating – 3/5