‘Dharma Durai’ created a huge buzz because Vijay Sethupathi is teaming up with his mentor Seenu Ramaswamy for the third time. The duo has tried to spin the tale of the love and life of a rural doctor with below par results.
The film opens with Dharma Durai an alcoholic who is a constant pain in the necks of his brothers played by Arul Dass, Soundarraja and another actor with only his mother (Radhika Sarathkumar) showering love on him. He is often beaten up and locked in the motor room. When Dharman goes about telling the villagers that his brothers are going to cheat them of their hard earned money they decide to finish him off and call on their uncle E. Ramadoss a retired constable for the job. Radhika manages to sneak in a blade with which he escapes but unknowingly carries the chit money with him in the bag. He goes straight to the medical college he studied and in the first of two flashbacks we get to know the friendship he had with Stella (Shrusti Dange) and Subashini (Tamannaah) with the former loving him openly and the latter hiding it. The first flash back ends with the college studies getting over even as the brothers are nearing him. Then Dharma goes in search of Stella where there is a shock awaiting him and later he finds Subhashini and narrates the other flash back which explains why there is so much of hatred between the brothers and what happens next is what it is all about.
One of the finest actors of this generation Vijay Sethupathi gets a role which has many shades and it is a cakewalk for him be it as the alcoholic or the earnest medical student and the man in love with a poor girl Anbuselvi (Aishwarya Rajesh). At the same time in many scenes it is very obvious that even an actor of his caliber will struggle if the characterization is not well etched with a wandering screenplay to boot. Aishwarya Rajesh brings to life Anbuselvi an innocent lesser educated girl . M.S. Bhaskar as her father is outstanding. Tamannaah gets a role of substance and has done a fairly good job. Nothing to complain about Shrusti Dange’s performance except for the fact that the role is insignificant to the story. Rajesh as the professor who inspires the hero and the heroines is his usual self. Radhika who won many hearts recently with her subtle acting in ‘NRD’ and ‘Theri’ is unfortunately artificial most of the times scoring only in her interactions with Vijay Sethupathi. Ganja Karuppu manages to get a laugh here and there while all the other actors have done a neat job.
The Yuvan Shankar Raja- Vairamuthu combo has given some soulful songs and the formers BGM is a big plus for the film. M. Sukumar’s camera effectively captures the rural essence while Kasi Viswananthan is helpless as he probably had to battle the inconsistent screenplay. Seenu Ramaswamy has the reputation of touching subjects that have a great depth in them as evidenced in ‘Thenmerkku Paruvakaatru’ and ‘Neer Paravai’, but that is what is exactly lacking in ‘Dharma Durai’. The characterizations are half baked and the writing pretty wayward making it a tedious viewing for the majority.