Market Raja MBBS Review: Quirky ideas marred by lacklustre writing
Arav makes an impressive debut with an umpressive film
When you see a dynamic Devadarshini in a Ghostbuster suit — complete with the iconic proton pack — during an exorcism sequence, you know it's the kind of film where you must cease questioning the realism and give in entirely to the madness onscreen. The bright side of Saran's Market Raja MBBS is the film isn't short on these quirky attempts. The hero fights a killer drone, a don is addressed as Kadavul Appa (literal translation of Godfather), and for those looking for a Vasool Raja MBBS connect, there's even a surprise cameo. Sadly, these fun elements don't do enough to balance out the massive loopholes and lacklustre screenplay.
Cast: Arav, Kavya Thapar, Rohini, Chaams, Radikaa Sarathkumar, Adithya Menon
Anyone who has seen the promos would be aware that it's the story of a don with a devil-may-care attitude who gets possessed by the spirit of a scaredy-cat medical student. (A reverse take on the Kanchana franchise). An interesting premise, sure. But, Market Raja hardly deviates from the screenplay that we can think up based on this one line, and that is a serious problem. This is the kind of film where we can predict each upcoming scene.
Market Raja also leaves a lot of unanswered questions in its wake. Midway into the film, the whys and hows surrounding the possessed lead reaches a staggering level. The director himself seems just as clueless as us, given he just lets these confusions slide without any noticeable effort. A couple of creative cuts at the editing table could have made this a way better film. Instead, we have scenes that go on and on, leading nowhere.
Market Raja has more than one connection to this week's other release, ENPT. The film has an odd character named Dhanush and Nikeesha Patel's Stephanie is an actress caught in the hands of a wicked financier akin to Megha Akash's Lekha. Sadly, both of them get a degrading portrayal. While the former is named so just to make a mockery of the actor's personal life, the latter character is a seductress who seems hardly bothered by her pitiful state.
Though Radikaa was marketed as one of the USPs of Market Raja, it is the other 80s heroine, Rohini, who shines effortlessly as the mute and deaf mother. The slightly over-the-top performances of the supporting cast like Adithya Menon and Chaams, feel apt for this film's universe, but Vihaan's annoying portrayal of the meek Chandra Babu is quite unbearable
From the day one, Saran's Market Raja was marketed (pun intended) as an Arav-starrer. Making a full-fledged on-screen debut under aegis of a filmmaker who has directed Kamal and Ajith, must have been daunting, but Arav carries it with ease. Though I wasn't entirely convinced with him as the atrocious don, he sells the cowardly and naive medico brilliantly. For a major portion of the runtime, the screen is filled with Arav's face. Considering the shallow writing, I am quite sceptical if my interest level would have stayed the same were it a random actor delivering an average performance.
Simon K King's Dha Dha (the finale to his oppari trilogy of songs after Ezhavu and Sangu) was the first thing that got me curious about the film prior to release. The picturisation of the song too showcased quirkiness to the maximum. How I wish the entire film was made with a similar tone! Something that would surprise us, now and then. While introducing Market Raja, the don, the voice-over in the background goes, "Ivaru epo enna pannuvaru nu ivarukku theriyadhu." However, we do know, almost always. And that's the problem.