What lifts Saroja above the usual Tamil kuppa (garbage) is some attention to the screenplay, a fairly fast-paced narrative and a director (Venkat Prabhu) who seems to have some basic idea of how to make a movie, all rarities in the Tamil film industry.
However, what makes Saroja a less-than-interesting movie is the poor acting skills demonstrated by the key performers, below average music, some really crude dance/song scenes and a pedestrian story that sputters ever so often.
With the exception of Premji Amaren, all the other key performers in Saroja including Siva, Vaibhav, S.P.B.Charan and even Prakash Raj and Jayaram are plain unendurable.
How unpolished actors like Siva, Vaibhav and S.P.B.Charan managed to make the leap in front of the camera is one of life’s inexplicable mysteries.
We are fans of Prakash Raj but in Saroja this Kannada actor, who has made a name for himself as a character actor in Tamil movies, is utterly unwatchable and a caricature of his usual self.
Four friends Ganesh (Premji), Ajay (Siva) and two brothers Jagapathi Babu (S.P.B Charan) and Ram Babu (Vaibhav) are on their way to watch a India-Pakistan cricket match when a truck accident on the highway forces them to take a detour on the back roads.
No sooner is their van on the desolate back roads, than they run into some bad elements led by a character called Sampath (Sampath) who has kidnapped a young school girl Saroja, daughter of a rich businessman Vishwanath (Prakash Raj), and holding her for a hefty ransom.
How the four friends manage to escape from the ruffians constitutes the rest of the movie, which is mostly filmed in the low-light conditions of the night.
Fortunately, the comic scenes in Saroja are not as bad as those featuring Vadivelu or Vivek these days.
Yuvan Shankar Raja must have been dozing for the most part because the music in Saroja is so hopelessly below average. Some portions of cheeky cheeky in Saroja reminded us of where do you go my lovely (No Mercy).
The Kodana Kodi song/dance sequence featuring Nikita and the criminals was one of the crudest and ugliest song/dance sequenceÂ we’ve seen in recent years, even by Tamil movie standards or lack of it. Sheer torture and depressingly disgusting.
And since when did they start singing Hindi songs (Aaja Meri Soniye) in engagement ceremonies in Tamil Nadu. We’ve seen such song/dance sequences in a gazillion Bollywood (Hindi) movies. At least in Bollywood movies, they do such song/dance sequences with some finesse unlike in this movie.
Still, its many failings notwithstanding, Saroja is one of the tolerable Tamil films to emerge out of the Kollywood Cooum in recent months.
N.B.: There were all of seven people for the 3:45PM show of Saroja on Friday at the crappy Movie City theatre in Edison, New Jersey. Worse, there were hardly any folks waiting for the 7:00PM show when we got out around 6:30PM. The print quality of Saroja was lousy or was it the poor projection system at the horrible Movie City theatre (managed by Reliance ADAG of Anil Ambani).