Super Deluxe (2019) Review – A Portrait of our Flawed Society


An ever-growing seed. A seed that slowly and steadily attempts to proliferate inside you. Grasps you and never lets the hold loosen. It entangles your mind into a ceaseless process of scrutinizing the righteousness within and the foundation on which it is laid. This is the potential of a magical masterpiece, directed by Thiagarajan Kumararajan, Super Deluxe. Some might call him a perfectionist ( as he is infamous for taking hundreds of retakes) or some might even say that he is a cinema fanatic, but I say that the man knows exactly what he wants to serve on the platter and is not ready to compromise on even the slightest of aspects ( a quality that is a rare specie in the Hindi film industry.)

A husband, hating the hypocrisy of the existing systems and the society and his confused, impulsive but upright wife. A mother scampering around the hospital and pleading the doctors to attend to her son, till she arranges money, while the priest father puts his blind faith in the almighty rather than the doctors. Three friends charged with testosterone ready to do anything to buy a t.v. and clear the mess they have created. And a transgender father challenging the societal norms as well as being the victim of the same. And a corrupt, merciless police officer.

Each and every story has the potential to evolve into an independent film of its own. But Thiagarajan knits them together into a well-woven, mature screenplay doing it so seamlessly that one never feels that a plot or a scene is forced down the throat, just to reach a conclusion. What makes Super Deluxe stand out from the thrillers that we are accustomed to seeing is the fact that it is addressing something far more bigger and immense than the lives of the character or the film itself.

Super deluxe is a subtle and adroit satire to the sanctimonious nature of the so-called righteous ones. It’s a satirical ode to the bigotry and hypocrisy that exists in our society. Around 12 principal characters are there in the film. Thiagarajan takes out the best from each and every one of them. But one just couldn’t dare to blink when Vijay Sethupati comes on screen playing the character of a transgender named Shilpa. The equation he shares with his son Rassakutti, played by the amazing Ashwanth Ashokkumar is written with such originality and earnestness that one can’t help but admire the writers for coming up with something so authentic. You know Vijay Sethupathi’s hold on his craft when he carefully wears his saree and tucks it in. The little nuances are evidence of the kind of detail that has gone into the characters. A scene that stands out for me is when Shilpa visits the police station and enters into a kind of brawl with the police officers. Not giving too much away, it left me astounded and ineffable.

The film reiterates in various fashions, the flawed functioning of the society. As the character of Shilpa says aptly “live exactly the way society wants you to live.”Any kind of uniqueness is not taken well by the people. Uniqueness leads to fear, which with time turns into hatred. People hate the idea of originality. And before you know it you are an outcast if you don’t comply with the norms laid down.

Special shout out has to be given to the cinematographers Nirav Shah and P.S Vinod. May it be the bright and saturated colors, or how the camera witnesses the scene from the viewpoint of a third person, discovering things as they happen. It’s a visual treat.

One can see a glimpse of the genius David Fincher in the style of writing and Bon Jong Hoo in the coherent cinematography which describes the might of Thiagarajan and the impact he is going to have on cinema in the coming years (not that he has not already been impactful.)

Super deluxe is evidence of the fact that what happens when you let an original idea grow, nurture it And provide a conducive environment to let it evolve. And the very fact that we are pretty much capable of conceptualizing an original idea ( not getting inspired by the west) provided our writers are given the portal and backing required.

The film leaves you wondering how manipulative our belief systems are. Our sense of righteousness is tampered and incoherent. There is nothing just black and white, it’s just a matter of perspective. Super Deluxe is the kind of cinema that will endure the sands of time, stay with you unhampered and pure, evolving and adding new meaning to itself every passing day. Just like good old Tennessee whiskey. The older the better.

Super deluxe is streaming on Netflix.

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Sushrut Gopesh
Sushrut Gopesh
I came to Mumbai to bring characters to life. I like to dwell in the cinematic world and ponder over philosophical thoughts. I believe in the kind of cinema that not necessarily makes you laugh or cry but moves something inside you.

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