The Legend Movie Review: Saravanan's vanity project is more a vibe than a film
The Legend is both a rehash of multiple plot points from blockbuster films and an extremely unique one-of-a-kind project
At one point in The Legend, which is essentially about a world-renowned scientist discovering a cure for diabetes, a newspaper headline reads, “Yes Cure Diabetes Possible.” Now, this could just be brushed away as plain ignorance, but in a film that revels in its own absurdity, it leaves us with a big question — Is Team The Legend aware of the kind of responses the film will elicit? While the jury might still be divided on this front, this gaffe was one of the many humorous sequences in The Legend, which is both a rehash of multiple plot points from blockbuster films and an extremely unique one-of-a-kind project.
Cast: Legend Saravanan, Prabhu, Urvashi Rautela, Suman, Vivek
The first time we see Saravanan on screen, he is sending goons flying into the air, even as his well-gelled hair remains intact, and he is dressed straight out of a Khader Nawaz Khan Road Fashion Week. While not much can be said of his perennial poker face, his costumes are exemplary. This keenness on Saravanan’s looks, styling, and wardrobe is the most focus the makers have in the film, which otherwise exists to just fill in the gaps between elaborate action set-pieces and colourful song sequences. To give credit where it's due, the makers do get the basic plot right. The ‘Medical Mafia’ is afraid that Saravanan’s discovery would put them out of business, and they use their entire might to put a stop to it. In between all the paraphernalia, including grating intentional comedy, and hilarious unintended ones, The Legend offers us a 160-minute joyride like no other.
This is neither a spoof nor a parody, and the earnestness of the established names in the film, especially Prabhu, Latha, Thambi Ramaiah, Vijayakumar, Yogi Babu, Robo Shankar, Devadarshini, and Suman lends a layer of seriousness and much-needed gravitas to The Legend. The same holds good for the brilliant technical team of the film. Harris Jayaraj is the soul of the film, and his electrifying background score reminds us of how music plays a paramount role in our acceptance of any scene. Full points to cinematographer Velraj for the finery we see unfold on screen. In some projects, it is important that the audience understands that money hasn’t been a limiting factor; The Legend is one such film.
The Rajinikanth template is a tried-and-tested one for any new actor trying to break into superstardom, and Saravanan is no different. The love for Rajinikanth is so much that the vital plot points, song sequences, and action set-pieces of The Legend are more like watching a watered-down version of the Superstar’s highlights reel. While the Sivaji hangover is most prevalent, we also get slight doses of Ejamaan and Muthu. But make no mistake, there is just one star in The Legend, and it is Saravanan.
The Legend exists for the sole reason of Saravanan living his dream and being the star of a mass masala entertainer. He is a brilliant assembler and gets together the best possible team to make this dream into a reality. His role in The Legend is actually a relic of the past. While there are scenes where Saravanan sounds a clarion call for feminism, it is interspersed with overwhelming inanity and saccharine goodness that one of my eyes rolled so much to the back of my head, and seems to have lost its way. Who calls diabetes “A sweet suicide?” Also, if you are a person in power in a college, what would you to do a bunch of hooligan students who sexually harass a woman, burn her house down, stomp her father to the ground, and constantly say a sing-song ‘Ooh laa’ at every opportune moment of depravity? Rusticate them? File a police complaint? At the very least, suspend them? But our Saravanan, who randomly appears with a whip (why does he carry one in the first place), and pulls off an Ungal Veettu Pillai MGR, lets them go scot-free because… and wait for it… “thirundharathukku oru vaaipu”. Come on!!! They aren’t kids caught trying to copy in an exam. In fact, every dialogue uttered by Saravanan is either punchy or preachy. Even in the romantic portions involving two heroines — Urvashi Rautela and Geethika Mantri who make assured debuts with their lipsyncing game mostly on point — the dialogues are so outdated and cliched. In fact, there is hardly a scene where he just has a conversation with someone. His lines are always addressed to the gallery, who might not really buy into the concept of Saravanan as a messiah, but wouldn’t really mind seeing him as a wannabe whose earnestness is infectious. Also, he gives off the vibe of being a rather nice man. In fact, in The Legend, there is a nice touch in the way they have employed sync sound to bring to life the role of the legendary Vivekh, who passed away before the film could be completed. Although his comic scenes don’t really have the punch, it was nice to see him onscreen one last time.
The Legend is mounted on a concept that expects the audience to root for the protagonist. However, here there is a sense of rooting, not for the character but for the textile giant Saravanan himself. It is evident that he didn’t do all the stunts, especially some of the jumps because the VFX is as clear as the green screen used. But still, we clap. The lack of histrionic ability is just overwhelming. But still, we whistle. The audaciousness of the plot is laughable. But still, we hoot. The song and dance routines feel so out of place in The Legend. But still, we groove along. We have done it for innumerable star vehicles before. We have let our better senses be sidelined to allow our basest feelings to come to the fore and enjoy a film. For the uninitiated, the film might be just one big joke, but honestly, Saravanan and team clearly know what they wanted to do with The Legend. They are all in on the joke, and so are we.