Review: Junga - Fast, fun & less furious

By Santhosh Mathevan Published on Jul 28, 2018 02:57 PM IST

Chennai: What if a bottle of soft drink and a plate of mixture are the only refreshments provided at a meeting of all dons in Chennai? Imagine a gangster celebrating success party, obviously, for completing a kidnap mission, by serving upuma. Junga is full of such funny, creative and spoof elements, taking a dig at godfathers of Tamil cinema in the past.

The miser don Junga (Vijay Sethupathi) has one goal for his lifetime - to get back his family's legacy, a theatre, lost by his lethargic don-appa Ranga and don-thaatha Lingaa, both roles played by Vijay Sethupathi, again. So, Junga has to go through a lot of troubles and missions before winning his ambition.

A flabbergasting flashback, an aforesaid all-dons meeting, maintaining ethics by brutally killing a rapist, guns and goons, and long heroic stunts - Junga has it all packed, yet, unfortunately, only in its first half. Gokul's minute detailing and creativity make the first half of Junga to be an end to end spoof movie like the instalments of Tamizh Padam franchise. However, the latter half loses substance and moves with a blunt screenplay, blindfolded.

There is a scene where Junga indulges in a one-on-one conversation with Soapraj (Radharavi), who seems likely to be an imitation of Vito Corleone from Godfather franchise. The essence of the movie and the conviction of Junga is clearly evident in this exchange. However, Junga loses this grip in a monologue of its pre-climax, where he narrates the entire story of the movie to Yazhini (Sayyeshaa).

Howbeit, Gokul, as a writer has excelled one more time, especially in character establishment. Moments like making missed calls, cross verifying his assistant-don Yoyo (Yogi Babu) whether he took back his pen, stocking food served at flights, pointing out the international call made by Yazhini, and chiefly, swimming across a -5 degree Celsius river to save 150 Euros, reiterate the Junga parsimony every time. Also, the on and off transformation of Don-Paatti between naivety and thug-lifeness is something smart, that a writer like Gokul can do indisputably.

Vijay Sethupathi is one of those very few actors who can patently make a simple or cliched script like Karuppan, Naanum Rowdy Thaan or Sethupathi, compulsive. However, the actor despite his overpowering screen presence, beguiling body language and deceptive dialogue delivery, could not save the second half of Junga. Saranya as Don-Amma is one show stopper who scores a home-run even in the lesser screen space. The scene where she, along with Don-Paatti narrate the flashback, the consummate performer inside her peeps out for a show-off.

We have been used to hear the main theme being played at every other entry and slow-mo walks of heroes in movies of this genre. But, Siddharth Vipin underplays all sounds and has made a limited usage of Junga's theme to let audience starve for its next occurrence after each sequence. Vipin also stretches all interludes of a few, misplace, numbers eventually making us stretch in our seats with displeasure. It feels like, songs could have been cut-down or at least cut-shorted.

Junga leaves us in a lot of confusion like, how could one easily break into a mafia's castle?, why would a girl help a one-day acquaintance by cheating her father?, and what is the need of a song in the middle of a chase? are a few among many. The 'success party' troll in the beginning and the 'running successfully' reference towards the end themselves are contradictory to each other regardless of Gokul's creativity. Had he been little more creative to establish Junga as full-length satire, it surely would, as he says, run successfully and apparently lead to a success-party.