| Just when Ullam Kollai Poguthey made me think that
I could check out Sundar.C's movies with more optimism than before, along comes
Rishi to prove my notion wrong and make me wonder if that movie was just
a flash in the pan. With Rishi, Sundar ventures into the action genre,
something he is obviously unsuited for. Apart from picking an age old story
involving smugglers, diamonds and assassinations, he displays a startling lack
of originality by swiping most of the story and sequences from a wide array
of foreign movies.
Rishi(Sarathkumar) is a professional thief working for Satya(Arun Pandiyan).
On one of his missions, he happens to watch a minister(Devan) kill a television
reporter who is about to expose him. Rishi takes off with a floppy the reporter hands
to him before dying and the minister, naturally, wants it back. Things get
confusing because of Velu(Sarathkumar), who looks like Rishi and gets into
trouble. Meanwhile, Rishi turns over a new leaf when one of his tasks ends up
in a singer Nandhini(Sangavi) being blinded. He starts taking care of her but
Sathya is unwilling to let him go.
While Tamil film directors have never shied away from being 'inspired' by motion
pictures from other languages, Rishi has to be the movie with the
most of number of such inspirations packed into a single film. The main
story of the hired killer blinding a singer and attempting to reform while
falling in love with her is copied from John Woo's Hong Kong movie, which was
dubbed into English as The Killer. The execution of the gunfight sequence
at the club and the song sequence, where Sarathkumar watches the blind Sangavi sing,
are lifted directly from that movie, though without the trademark style of the
original. Sarath Kumar even carries a toothpick between his teeth, Chow Yun Fat-style!
Apart from this there are a whole lot of individual sequences that have been
copied from Hollywood movies . There is a car crash and a scene where Sarath
lights up a car from Payback, a fight aboard a truck followed by a chase
from Lethal Weapon 4, an assassination setup from Nick of Time and
the famous bullet-dodging scene from The Matrix (here Sarathkumar dodges
a wooden plank). Whew! I'm exhausted just listing out the movies. Wonder how
exhausted Sundar must have been after watching all of them!
With most of the movie being lifted straight from other sources, it becomes
tough to review the movie. And the little of it that is original does nothing
to make us overlook the plagiarism in the rest of the movie. In fact, the only
way one can make the movie interesting is to get together with some friends and
try to see who comes up with the maximum number for scenes that have been
copied from other movies. The issue of the floppy, which starts the movie,
is put on the backburner until it once again rears its head in the climax.
Ramesh Khanna makes some futile attempts at making us laugh early on but gives
up soon enough.
Characters are poorly defined with Meena coming off especially poorly as being
completely shallow and then disappearing for most of the movie. With Meena not
being likeable and Sarathkumar lying his way into her heart, their romance offers
little to cheer us up. Rishi's romance with Sangavi isn't much more interesting
with the director opting for convenient solutions to issues like her finding out
that the man responsible for her losing her eyesight is the same one who has saved
her. With the issue of two Sarathkumars being resolved soon
enough, there is no oppurtunity to utilise the mixed identity situation.
Sarathkumar flexes his muscles enough for playing Rishi while trying his hand
at a little comedy as Velu. Suffice it to say that he far more successful in
the former. Meena has lost her charm and stumbles her way through the role.
Sangavi overacts as the blind singer while her first dance at the club is
poorly choregraphed and executed. Prakashraj is wasted as an ineffective
policeman while Devan and Arun Pandiyan are adequate. Yesteryear actor
SSR makes an appearance as the good Chief Minister. Yuvan Shankar Raja follows
the route laid out by the director by lifting some of his background score from
Terminator 2. None of the songs are impressive.