Super Deluxe (2019) Tamil Movie Review – Veeyen


Thiagarajan Kumararaja’s ‘Super Deluxe’ is a riveting and dexterously observed noir piece that spawns a sense of unease on its viewers with an unnerving subtlety. Building on the terror further, it pulls open a wardrobe of disquieting truths – on gender roles, fidelity, faith, morality and several others – that tumble down in heaps and bundles all around us. A bolstering black comedy that is also a twitchy exploration of tormented human lives, it is an exciting and excruciating film that would leave you squirming in the best possible ways.


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The eight years since ‘Aaranya Kaandam’, film maker Thiagarajan Kumararaja, must have been real busy setting up the ultimate cheese trap, and with ‘Super Deluxe’, he lures us in, and like rodents guardedly inching towards the scrumptious bait, we move closer and closer in until we hear the trap door snap shut behind us. There is no possible turn around, and entrapped along with a bunch of oddball characters whose circumstances in life appear concurrently desperate and delightful, it’s a twister of a ride that ‘Super Deluxe’ takes us on, crushing and running over tons of codes, criteria and conventionalities that lie along its way.

The palette that Thiagarajan Kumararaja holds out is one on which he has mixed up a magnificent mess, with his brush vigorously crossing over and blending in the most magical of colour compositions.  It’s a pleasure to look at, whichever way you choose to look at it, and despite all the caustic suspicions as to how self-conscious and self-absorbed it at times appears to be, has all the characteristics that would easily push it into the ingenious noir cinema league.

There are multiple threads that apparently show no intentions of overlapping, at least initially, and when they do, the mosaic that it lays out appears elaborately planned, with even the tiniest of snippets that have been tossed in, wedging in perfectly. It’s the craft that lies beneath the narrative construction that awes, and armed with the jumpy, often jagged writing that proudly flashes its rough edges throughout, it doesn’t take us long before we find ourselves niggling around right under the skin of some of these characters, as fraught and frantic they seem to be.

Life has this creepy knack of sneaking up right behind you, and throwing a shock party that thunderously drums down your senses, and pushing its fingers straight down the corner of your lips, pulling its edges across and forcefully stretching it out into an alarmed grin. None of the characters in ‘Super Deluxe’ see it coming, and with the hammer abruptly smashing down on their unwary skulls, they collapse and dizzily count the spinning stars, before gathering their wits and lunging up hazily to make a move forward.

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The focal element in ‘Super Deluxe’ would be Rasukutty (Aswanth Ashokkumar), that adorable kid with the toothy smile, who gets all set to finally welcome his long absconding dad back home, and who hopes to settle a score or two with his jeering friends at school, once and for all. Manikyam finally arrives, and as his taxi screeches to a halt, the anticipatory faces all around droop down in disbelief and dismay, as the man has transformed himself into Shilpa (Vijay Sethupathi), a transwoman who claims to have spent quite a few years roaming the streets of Mumbai.

The convivial crowd dissipates as rapidly as it had assembled, and a teary eyed Jyothi (Gayathri) is appalled as she watches the woman who was her once her husband drape a sari around, taking a moment to fix a wig over her bald pate. Rasukutty is clueless as to what has transpired, and looks forward to leading his dad to school that very day, and dispel his classmates’ test-tube baby notions about him with staunch, first hand evidence.

Vaembu (Samantha Ruth Prabhu) invites her former boyfriend home, while her husband is away, and after sex, discovers that the man is dead. Her hubby Mugil (Fahad Faasil) meanwhile returns, and isn’t amused to find the corpse that his wife has stashed in the refrigerator. A confession follows and they start devising a plan to stow the body somewhere safe, and it all seems fine, until they get a call from someone who sounds like he knows much more than they would like him to know.

Meanwhile, somewhere else in the city, Soori (Naveen) and his gang of friends that comprises of Gaaji (Vijay Ram), Mohan (Jayanth) and Vasanth aka Mutta Puffs (Noble K James), decide to make the most of a free day, and head over to Thuviyan’s (Abdul Jabbar) place to watch some porn. Looks like a hard day ahead for the boys (pun intended), and it does turn out to be, when the adult film kick starts with none other than Suri’s mom, Leela (Ramya Krishnan) making an appearance, which sends the hysterical boy sprinting back home, hell bent on finishing her off.

With the television having faced Soori’s wrath, Gaaji, Thuviyan and Mutta Puffs set out to make some quick money and buy a new one, before Thuviyan’s dad would be back home. Meanwhile, Soori’s bid to settle a score with his mother lands him on his stomach with a screw driver thrust in, and a fretful Leela along with Mohan rushes him to the hospital to get an urgent surgery done, while her husband Arbutham (Mysskin), turns to the lord to perform a healing miracle on his son.

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While the film holds incredible surprises in store structurally, and while it astutely lays out a spectacular visual pattern of its own, both of which probably deserve separate exhaustive analyses, I would rather focus on how important this film is, thematically. I would also dwell on this jolt of a revelation that the film holds within, and the bracing faith that it retains in humanity, all the while dragging us along to stretches where it seems far from possible.

To me, the ‘Super Deluxe’ experience centres around that tiny bundle of joy named Rasukutty, and his unhindered acceptance of his dad for what he is, and what he has altered himself into. Everything about this tot is what exemplary screen writing is all about, and the profundity of emotions that  it holds in its wake is what elevates ‘Super Deluxe’ to a superlative film. Those statements on sheer acceptance, echoing across from the door that Rasukutty has slammed shut, are equally emphatic as the ones that Leela voices in the climax, as to how we stay alive and carry on, despite having committed some terrible mistakes in life.

With Inspector Berlin (Bagavathy Perumal) testing and trying out the very last remnants of their togetherness, Vaembu and Mugil make a trip to hell, constantly writing, scrubbing and rewriting the contours of their relationship, until they reach a point of no-return. As comical as it all looks like, it’s also a devastating inspection of how fragile the ties that apparently bind us together are, and of how bare and guileless we appear to be when they are snipped away by the shears of circumstances.

There are the questions on faith that the film decidedly probes into, and Leela delivers a tight slap that sends Arbutham spinning back to his senses. The vibrant and current arguments that are put forth are certainly not lost on the audience, and the desperation with which Arbutham hangs on to his convictions that are progressively destroyed is evocatively put across.

The whirlwind of moral dilemmas that Soori is hurled into finally blows by, and it takes a while for the boy to indulge in a thoughtful examination of what is, and what will be. It is no sermon that a super tranquil Leela delivers by his bedside, and yet in a few statements that she deftly puts across, she picks up the torn fragments of family dynamics that lie scattered all over the floor, and stitches it up hoping to start all afresh.

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This is nothing short of an amazing cast that Thiagarajan Kumararaja has opted for, and they are all without an exception, astounding. With that twinkle of a kid Aswanth leading the pack, there is Vijay Sethupathi in an unbelievably daring avatar, Fahadh who is forever remarkable in everything that he does, Ramya Krishnan who affirms that she’s still one among the best actors that we have today, Myshkin who ensures that his feat is top-notch, Samantha who goes for this one brilliant role that has come her way with a determination that is apparent, Bagavathy Perumal who with his dastardly act gives you the shivers, Gayathrie who makes a brief, yet stellar appearance and a whole lot of other young actors who have all given it their very best.

It’s a whole weird world that cinematographers Nirav Shah and PS Vinod have captured on their lens and the art direction by Vijay Adinathan is one that mixes up a unique, matchless blend of colours and patterns. Together they craft one of the most visually intriguing films in recent times and are ably aided by a sharp and significant musical score by Yuvan Shankar Raja, that further adds to the detailing of the piece.

Thiagarajan Kumararaja’s ‘Super Deluxe’ is a riveting and dexterously observed noir piece that spawns a sense of unease on its viewers with an unnerving subtlety. Building on the terror further, it pulls open a wardrobe of disquieting truths – on gender roles, fidelity, faith, morality and several others – that tumble down in heaps and bundles all around us. A bolstering black comedy that is also a twitchy exploration of tormented human lives, it is an exciting and excruciating film that would leave you squirming in the best possible ways.


Verdict: Good


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