Director-producer Thiagarajan Kumararaja’s Super Deluxe is so trippy, it seems to have been written and made while the creators were stoned themselves! Jokes apart, it’s an Indian or rather Tamil version of Quentin Tarantino’s cult film Pulp Fiction. The movie has been written by Thiagarajan along with Mysskin (the writer-filmmaker-actor), Nalan Kumarasamy and Neelan K Sekhar.
No, the story of Super Deluxe is not the same as Pulp Fiction that starred Uma Thurman, John Travolta, Samuel L Jackson, Bruce Willis and Tarantino himself in a cameo. But parts of the plot and some entire segments of Super Deluxe are definitely reminiscent of Pulp Fiction. Fans of the original must not stop themselves from enjoying this crazy, sexy, cool desi version, though!
The transgender part of the story in Super Deluxe, headlining Vijay Sethupathi, will also remind one instantly of a similar emotional story in Spanish film All About My Mother by Pedro Almodovar, where a father becomes a mother to his sons because he has changed his sex (while the two mothers are also the mothers).
Thiagarajan as a director does the best adaptation of Tarantino; he is better inspired than Anurag Kashyap, who himself has praised Super Deluxe. If you have seen Thiagarajan’s 2010 film Aaranya Kaandam (yes, starring Jackie Shroff), you will know the drift of Super Deluxe.
But Super Deluxe is way crazier and the madness actually leads to some spiritual anecdotes or learning. Crazy than crazier is the trailer of Super Deluxe, again reminding you of Aaranya Kaandam. The trailer of Super Deluxe does not reveal what it is about and that is the best part. Unlike trailers where the entire movie is shown in short. As for the story of Super Deluxe, don't go by the trailer. The plot is something else!
Packed with an amazing bunch of actors in Vijay Sethupathi, Ramya Krishnan, Mysskin, Fahadh Faasil and Samantha, Super Deluxe runs four parallel stories. These parallel narratives are actually intertwined and make the film a gripping watch in the second half. The first half is a psychedelic mix where you don't know what's happening and where it's leading. But you will love the film as a whole.
Connecting the film's stories are these bunch of boys who are all set to watch their first porn film, Mallu Uncut, only to find out that the pornstar (Leela, played by Ramya Krishnan) is the mother of one of them! Naturally, the boy can't take it and chaos unfolds. In the midst of all this, two television sets break for the replacement of which the boys are ready to do anything, including an encounter with (SPOILER) an alien! (We told you the film was crazy.)
In another story, there is much drama about the return of the son and the husband / father to the household, the build-up akin to a Karan Johar film! Only to find out that the man Manikam is now a woman named Shilpa (Vijay Sethupathi). Will Shilpa be accepted by his kin and the society? These questions form some touching moments of the film.
Apart from the bad cop character named Berlin played by Baghavathy Perumal, another part reminding you of Pulp Fiction is the dead body in the house sub-plot. Vaembu (Samantha) and Mugilan (Fahadh Faasil) are set to out to dispose of the body of Vembu's lover who died in 'unnatural' circumstances. Will they divorce after this or stay together?
Intertwined with Leela and her son's story is that of her husband Arputham (Mysskin), who after surviving the tsunami feels that the divine is the answer to all, even refusing to treat his son in the hospital. Will he come to his senses?
Samantha and Fahadh really make their story very interesting and have good screen presence. Ramya Krishnan is as seasoned as ever and Mysskin plays his part well. It's Vijay Sethupathi who has the defining role in this film as the transgender Shilpa. The little boy who plays his son Rasukutty is a gem, too. And so is Gayathrie, the actress who plays his wife Jyothi, saying a lot with her expressions. Baghavathy Perumal as the sub-inspector Berlin is excellent in his role, menacing and intimidating with an ease in his manner.
For the non-Tamil viewer
The nuances of Super Deluxe will be missed by the non-Tamil viewer, including this critic. It will be a good idea to discuss the film with your Tamil and south Indian friends. However, there are some Bollywood references, too, that you will enjoy. Just sit back and soak in the experience called Super Deluxe.
Super Deluxe will not be Super Deluxe without the cinematography by Nirav Shah and P S Vinod - their frames and the use of colour, which also brings in the eye-catching and detailed art direction by Vijay Adhinathan. The film editing by Sathyaraj Natarajan, who is also the executive producer of the movie, is zany. The music by Yuvan Shankar Raja and the special effects are commendable.
Verdict: A well-mounted Tamil film with unique, radical experiences of people in society that ultimately just give the message of kindness and love. Super Deluxe is deeply philosophical.