A surrealistic serenade of senseless violence
Tulasi is an un-sequential montage of inconsequential personal incidents that reflect the lawless ethos of an unspecified faction ridden community. Coupled with beleaguered bathos of all characters, Tulasi characteristically creates a complete chaos of narration.
Tulasiram(Venkatesh) and Vasu(Nayanatara) meet while travelling abroad and as usual with the genre of mainstream cinema, fall in love and marry. The couple bring forth a son and then get separated. After a period of five years, Tulasi re-enters the life of Vasu, because he alone knows that his son is suffering from some rare disease of the brain and will not live long.
Tulasi, however, has a whole ensemble of villains stalking him. The reason for Tulasi and Vasu getting estranged is the instinctive violent behaviour of Tulasi. In his native village, Tulasi’s father played by Vijaykumar and a minister enacted by Jayaprakash Reddy are rivals. Irked by the insults heaped on his father, Tulasi massacres the rival’s henchmen, which creates a ripple effect of reprisals and counter attacks between Tulasi and his father’s rivals.
When specialist doctor flies in from abroad to operate on the brain tumour of his son, the hired killer played by Ashish Vidyarthi and his gang prevent the operation by kidnapping Tulasi’s son. After the usual climax fight, where the hero single handedly decimates dozens of antagonists, the operation is pronounced a success and the hero and heroine are together again.
The film opens half-way. When the heroine was conducting a fashion show, a villain, played by Rahul Dev, disturbs the proceedings only to be smashed to smithereens by the hero. Then we come to know that the hero and heroine are estranged since five years. Later their five year old son makes an entry on the screen. We are led to believe that another version of Kramer Vs Kramer is in the offing. No, without any warning a series of senseless killings are unleashed, all in the name of factionism.
In such a scenario, Venkatesh did his dances well, did his fights well, did his emoting well and did his comic scenes well. But, overall, his performance doesn’t jell. The reason is the floundering blunders in the characterisation of the hero.
The hero is highly educated and going abroad for a job when he meets the heroine on the flight. His behaviour with the heroine at the airport and in flight smacks of crude double entendre. He stops smoking and drinking to marry the heroine. After the faction fight in his native village, he tells his wife that it is his own family issue and doesn’t concern her. What was constantly missing was the consistency of the hero’s behaviour.
The inherent contradictions of behaviour, along with the confounding bathos of the character Tulasi, did not give any scope to Venkatesh to perform well. It is always the elevation of the character above the ordinary that gives a challenge to an actor to perform. Patch work gives you a blank quilt. Only an orderly spun linen can give a quality blanket.
Within their limitations, Nayanatara, Vijaykumar, Ashish Vidyarthi, Jayaprakash Reddy, Shivaji and Rahul Dev gave performances, which at best can be termed as average. The comedy track of Ali and Narasing Yadav ought to be dismissed as an insult to the intelligence of the audience.
The story and screenplay are the raison d’etre of any film. Tulasi suffers from a weak story and a crumbling screenplay. The conceptualisation of the story obviously suffered from trying to combine somehow a set of hotch-potch elements like child sentiment, faction rivalry, unheard of heroism, exotic locales, catchy songs, gory fights and too many unstructured characters. Finally, no one understands the storyline.
The story or narration appears to be beyond the dimensions of time and space. There are no references or benchmarks for places and time of action in the incidents. The technique of Flash Back does not look kindly on the smudging of place of action and the smearing of the time of action. Most importantly the screenplay does not inform the audience why an incident is happening or why a particular character behaves the way he/she does.
The backdrop of the story is important.Just because the backdrop is factionism and irrespective of the time and place of occurrence, the hero violently resorts to a gory orgy of ruthless killing. By a conservative count, the hero kills at least 200 people and maims another 100. Is this veneration of violence necessary? The entire story of Tulasi happened at some place and time, where the entire gamut of police and law enforcement institutions took voluntary retirement. You don’t see a single cop anywhere. It is jungle law ruling the roost and so disgustingly.
The hero kills around 100 people right in the presence of the district collector and a Minister. After the merciless massacre, a smiling collector signs in the father of hero as zilla parishad chairman. The underlying message of the heroics of the hero in Tulasi appears to be to kill all the so called antagonists regardless of consequences.
The hero again is totally immune to bullet injuries and knife wounds. Next time if any one gets a bullet injury in the abdomen and blood gushes out, do not ring up 108 for an ambulance. Take a handful of mud and rub it on the blood oozing wound. Lo and behold, you are ready to take on a six pack abs villain. If there is a knife wound, particularly piercing from the back and protruding through the solar plexus, just give it a dirty look and dismiss it. The wound vanishes miraculously.
The film makers should understand that they can resort to cinematic license, but cannot afford to assault the commonsense of the audience. The songs, music, choreography, stunts, cinematography are good, but what is the use? What would anyone get, when an attempt is made to dress a skeleton with the latest fashion attire?
This film is a needless waste of invaluable resources. Just because the film belongs to the genre of mainstream cinema, it cannot take the audience for granted. Tulasi may appeal only to the diehard fans of Venkatesh. Anyone can watch the film at his/her own risk.
Thulasi: Review by Deen Kumar
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