Singapore Saloon movie review: RJ Balaji's underdog story has too much going on - Hindustan Times

Singapore Saloon movie review: RJ Balaji is convincing as a hairstylist, but this underdog story has too much going on

Jan 25, 2024 03:38 PM IST

Singapore Saloon movie review: Director Gokul has tried to bring together too many elements in the RJ Balaji-starrer, and this is, sadly, its downfall.

Singapore Saloon movie review: The last few films of director Gokul featured big Tamil stars, but did not fare well at the box office. This time around the Junga director teams up with RJ-turned-actor-and-director RJ Balaji, who is known for his comedy. Singapore Saloon tried to combine director Gokul’s sensibilities with actor RJ Balaji’s to a certain extent, but how well do the two meet? Also read: RJ Balaji exclusive interview

Singapore Saloon movie review: The RJ Balaji-starrer was released on January 25.
Singapore Saloon movie review: The RJ Balaji-starrer was released on January 25.

Singapore Saloon's plot

Singapore Saloon starts with Kathir's (RJ Balaji) stunning confession – he is going to die by suicide. He then narrates what compelled him to make this decision. The film revolves around Kathir’s ambition to become a renowned hair stylist.

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He grows up in a small town, where he spends a lot of time with his friend Basheer (Kishen Das) at Chacha’s (Lal) barbershop called Singapore Saloon. He feels passionate about this profession, but he feels education is important and arms himself with an engineering degree. His dream of opening his own salon sees him go through severe struggles, financial and otherwise.

His wife’s (Meenakshi Chaudhary) miserly father (Sathyaraj) and his own dad lend him money to open his dream salon, and he opens his Singapore Saloon in a building interestingly shaped like Singapore’s Marina Bay Sands. Then in a major twist of fate, he faces a big disaster just before the saloon opens. What happens to Kathir’s dream and his life?

Director Gokul has tried to give us an underdog story of a young man, who dares to make his dream a reality. The first half of the film is filled with lighter moments as we see Kathir in school and develop his first crush. When Sathyaraj comes on screen, there are more fun elements. In the second half, the director makes the film really sentimental and sappy.

What works and what doesn't

The writing is patchy and being an underdog story, it is cliched and doesn’t make you root for him. Though there are scenes, where you empathise with the protagonist or have a laugh, the theme of making your dream come true is stressed through multiple characters in the film. The director also brings in other social themes into the film - religion, economic inequality and so on.

The film lags at points and the protagonist seems to be morose throughout the film for some reason. Shouldn’t the film give the audience hope?

Cut to the performances, RJ Balaji is good and convincing as the hairstylist but his character could have been better written by the director. We needed to see him work as a hairstylist and hone his skills, but Gokul completely misses that. Like mentioned earlier, Kathir’s role is high on sad sentiment and drama which is a downer.

Actor Sathyaraj is superb in the scenes he appears with his sons-in-law. Sathyaraj’s lines may not be howlarious but the way he delivers them and his expressions make you laugh. Kishen Das and Robo Shankar are apt for their roles but Meenakshi Chaudhary doesn’t have too much to do in the film.

The music and songs by Vivek-Mervin are not very average and nothing memorable. The cameos by Arvind Swami and Lokesh Kanagaraj liven up the proceedings and add some excitement.

Final thoughts

The storyline of making hairstyling a noble profession and hairstylists as people, who deserve respect is good. But director Gokul has tried to bring together too many elements in Singapore Saloon and this is, sadly, its downfall.

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