Flat And Boring Propaganda Movie
‘U’ Certified, 2h 24m
What Is the Film About?
Badri (Vijay Sethupathi), after a hiatus, return to his village Pandooru. He wants to make it model one in the country and stands for local body elections. Badri and his team are elected unanimously as the incumbent leader Nagabhushanam (Jagapathi Babu) withdraws the nomination.
How Badri modifies the village? What are the plans of Nagabhushanam, and why didn’t he oppose Badri? Did Badri succeeds eventually is the basic plot of the movie.
Vijay Sethupathi’s Performances
Vijay Sethupathi is his usual self, and that’s enough to carry the movie. There is a lot of talking and some action. Vijay Sethupathi effortlessly breezes through them. However, it is not something that has anything memorable for him concerning his acting skills. It is another walk in the park work for him.
Late SP Jananathan directs Laabam. It is a film set in a village. A guy wants to make it a model village by teaching them “Community Farming” (Ummadi Vyavasayam).
Yes, we have recently seen a film in Telugu with a similar theme. Laabam is no more different than it, in handling the core theme, but what makes it actually different is the ideology behind it. Laabam is an unapologetic Marxist propaganda film.
The propaganda aspect, however, doesn’t come to the fore immediately. It is slowly brought into the narrative, and then the dose is increased in the second half.
But, propaganda is not the biggest of concerns as far as Laabam is considered. It is a flat and dull narrative. Right from the beginning, Laabam moves at a leisurely pace with no real highs or elevation moments. It is not necessary to have the latter, but there has to be something on the former front. Laabam has nothing in that aspect.
The flat first half ends with a doubly flat interval. There is no conflict at all. The various issues related to the implementation of Badri’s ideas are the only challenge. The motivation of people is the other aspect, but even this is dealt with shoddily.
The second half starts on an interesting note, with the unchallenged hero facing some challenges. But, even that hopes are immediately dashed. The ways used to strengthen the hero lacks impact.
Everything finally leads to a final confrontation between the people’s leader, the leftist hero and the capitalistic antagonist. It is a disastrous end. The real identity of the villain comes out via one of the most cliché ideas. Less said about the ending, the better.
Overall, Laabam has some interesting writing related to the ‘profit’, ‘skilled labour’ and other issues. But, it is like the boring economics lecture where one either sleeps immediately or is left scratching head. It is a waste of time, one way or the other.
Shruti Haasan & Others?
Apart from Vijay Sethupathi, no one has a well-defined role. They are either sketchy or supporting parts. Shruti Haasan has a nothing sort of role, but she has been utilised well for her glamour. Jagapathi Babu playing the antagonist is ordinary. He seems to be in just for money purposes, and it shows on screen. The actor’s part of the hero’s gang is alright.
Music and Other Departments?
The music by D Imman suits the milieu, but there is not a single memorable track. The background score is comparatively better, but that’s not saying much. The cinematography by Ramji is good in parts. There is inconsistency throughout, which can be felt visually. The editing by N Ganesh Kumar and SP Ahamed should have been better. The writing is okay. It feels like a lecture in the class, though.
No Emotional Connect
The antagonist should have been much better fleshed out, expressing and sticking to his capitalistic views. Balancing both sides and then highlighting the hero would have elevated the lead as well as his ideology.
Did I Enjoy It?
Will You Recommend It?
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