‘The Legend’ review: An absurd, campy Saravana Stores advertisement

Legend Saravanan’s film debut as an actor is a laughing stock in theaters for all the wrong reasons

Legend Saravanan’s film debut as an actor is a laughing stock in theaters for all the wrong reasons

A few years ago, retail mogul Legend Saravanan appeared in the commercial for his Legend Saravana Stores. The man, who had previously only experienced backstage popularity, was now subjected to incessant trolling focused primarily on his appearance. The quote-unquote ‘bold’ move had a sort of reverse effect, with the negative publicity only drawing more attention. Exuding a remarkable self-confidence, Saravanan decided to take it a step further and produce and perform his own film, with the long-forgotten directing duo JD-Jerry at the head of the project.

Perhaps it is with the same confidence that Saravanan pops up on the screen in The legend and shatters the fourth wall with a tone of gratitude to the audience. The fourth wall is dead forever; there is no rebuilding, and we willingly begin to suspend our faith. We then get scenes after scenes of what appears to be commercials for awareness programs. At one point, an outline of a woman’s body on a blackboard is redrawn in that of Mahatma Gandhi to drive one point forward. To make matters worse, every time Saravanan is about to address the audience, the camera finds its way to his front, almost like a warning sign. Add to that the tacky set designs, bright costumes, lavish make-up – and Saravanan running in slow motion – it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that the film is strangely similar to the many Saravana Stores commercials.

The legend

Directors: JD-Jerry

Form: Legend Saravanan, Urvashi Rautela, Geethika Tiwari, Suman

Runtime: 161 minutes

Storyline: A world-renowned scientist works on a cure for diabetes while also waging war against an international medical mafia

Even if you condone all that, the scenario is not an inch different from a regular bad commercial pot boiler. It is not difficult to establish the ideas that have been agreed between the directors and the producer. A hero must fight for a noble cause; in this case it is the search for a cure for diabetes. Now one cannot resist the urge to let him go against a medical mafia. Then insert random shots set in multiple foreign locations. Also a few duet numbers between the heroine and the white knight hero. If you don’t let the main character suffer a terrible loss, it can hurt. Finally, add a few “unforeseen” twists as a garnish.

Between all these, we somehow get a story. Saravanan plays Dr. Saravanan, a world-renowned scientist. The catchphrase could actually be his last name for all you know, given the number of times it accompanies his name. After returning to his hometown of Pooncholai in Tamil Nadu, he takes it upon himself to help the student class. He falls in love with Thulasi (Geethika Tiwari), a professor and gets married. After a few unfortunate events in his hometown, Saravanan begins his research to cure diabetes, which doesn’t sit well with an international medical mafia headed by VJ (Suman), whose scenes oddly include Beethoven’s moonlight Sonata playing in the background. But who has time to ask these questions?

The film takes an enormous amount of time to reach this conflict, despite it seems to have nowhere to pause. Even during an intense dialogue exchange, the camera doesn’t linger, even on Saravanan. Don’t be surprised if you recognize yourself in the sigh of exhaustion of Mansoor Ali Khan’s character. Blame the bad screenplay, we hardly try to question the emotional graph of the main characters or care about their motives. In the world of The legendAfter a woman’s house is set on fire by assailants, she gleefully walks into the next shot and shakes a leg with our hero. If a trial of human drugs fails and Saravanan enters into a duet in the next scene, why question that?

The staging of the scenes also seems outdated, leaving you wondering if JD-Jerry hasn’t updated themselves in their 20-year hiatus from mainstream filmmaking. Audiences have evolved and we no longer need a sudden downpour of both rain and melodrama to feel a character’s death. Writing dialogue is another annoying point; labeling a death from diabetes as “sweet suicide” is another sign of a lost cause.

While these are all unforgivable flaws that speak of a terrible movie, the experience of watching The legend on a full screen is quite enjoyable. You read that right. For example, when Saravanan suffers a terrible loss and cries out, the audience bursts out laughing. This happens every time the actor is forced into an intense situation that requires him a lot of emotion. Perhaps the ghosts of his popular trolls have followed him to the big screen, and like his previous efforts, this could work in his favor given how bizarre it is to watch a campy movie as such without any concern.

Unfortunately, The legend also fails to be consistently hilarious in its long 160-minute runtime. Moreover, this is also a movie that ridiculously uses Vivekh, even making you feel guilty for hating the role of the late legendary actor.

The Legend is currently in theaters

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