Well, it was bound to happen someday. After three consecutive hits, Tamil cinema's luckiest filmmaker has made a film that's so awful, its success would result in me losing faith in our people. It's not like M. Rajesh is new to making bad movies. I absolutely loathed "Siva Manasula Shakthi" and "Oru Kal Oru Kannadi", but enjoyed "Boss (a) Baskaran" quite a bit. It's just that none of his previous films have been a catastrophe of this magnitude.
Rajesh has made a conscious effort to make his fourth film different from his previous three. The difference is that it showed a hint of having a proper story in its early minutes. But that's where the deceit lies. It's still the same old trash - only less funny and more unbearable. There's Santhanam playing a drag queen for whom an old man develops feelings. Boy, I wonder if this is the first time in our history that a film has tried to milk humor out of a man dressed as a woman. For the sake of tackling a period setting, Rajesh creates a laboriously painful backstory involving Prabhu which does nothing to make the film better.
Raja (Karthi) runs an obscure television channel and tells his parents that he wouldn't marry until he makes his channel the best in the market. Kalyanam (Santhanam) is a friend/employee/lapdog who continues to stick around and do things for Raja for reasons unknown. Raja is a total loser who does nothing to achieve that goal of his.. a goal which we are made to believe is what driving the film. The moment he meets the girl, he throws everything aside and inadvertently does everything to sabotage her career. The film is over-written with too many subplots, none of which make any sense.
I had a minor panic attack when I noticed on the Censor board certificate that the film's running time was close to 180 minutes. That's about as long as Francis Ford Coppola's "The Godfather". With only five minutes worth of humor, you have to be on a suicide mission to make such a long film with so little to offer.
"Azhaguraja" is a deeply misogynistic film which treats its lead female character terribly; I felt very sorry for Kajal Aggarwal's Devi Priya. She is the most adorable Grammar Nazi in the world. She shows her displeasure when Raja sends a note along with a bouquet that reads, "I Love U", and asks him to spell 'You' correctly without exactly being a dick about it. There's an excess of the typical OTT elements in her character, but there's some novelty too. She isn't swept off her feet that easily. She manages her father's cinema and wedding hall, and wishes to make a mark in the entertainment industry in some way. But then something very awful happens. She meets Raja who irresponsibly kills her self-confidence and turns her into a consolatory "housewife". He brings her down to his state and eventually makes her say, "I Love U". He domesticates her, that bastard.
Performance-wise, Santhanam is decent with his peculiar idiosyncrasies. At least he makes an effort. I don't know if it's just me but every time I see Prabhu, I immediately think of his Kalyan Jewellers advertisements. MS Bhaskar is worth mentioning, but that's about it. "Azhaguraja" is punishingly long, achingly unfunny and doesn't deserve any audience at all.view less