The introductory song in Seema Raja had these lines with the key crew members in the frame - "Aracha maava arachaalum, adhukku venum thani thiramai" which roughly translates as "even if one manages to dish out cliched plots over and over again, it demands a certain skill". That's true. However, in the context of this movie, the skill in question was nowhere to be found. However, the film had the masala tropes and cliches obnoxiously loaded to the brim.
Seema Raja (Sivakarthikeyan) is the namesake prince of a small suburb. Keeping up with director Ponram's previous ventures, in this one too Sivakarthikeyan is someone who whiles away loitering aimlessly with a sidekick (Soori). He then falls for Selvi (Samantha). Stalks her repeatedly, and makes her fall for him during a mass fight. She happens to be the villain's daughter. Of course, the villain (Lal) wants to be hailed as the king. There is a vixen also in the mix in the form of Kaleshwari (Simran). How did Seemaraja pull off the masala this time and that too collaborating with director Ponram for the third time?
The plot of the film was not a bad one. A king for namesake or a fallen zamindar is not new to Tamil cinema. However, it hasn't been a well-explored plot. The movie had a substantial flashback with Sivakarthikeyan portraying the king, Kadambavel Raja, fighting for his land with the Mughals. Moreover, the director has attempted to make a connection between that incident with the present day's plight of the farmers.
The problem was the plot points, the innate compulsion to introduce mass elements and Sivakarthikeyan's inability to carry himself as a mass hero convincingly. Certain scenes were perfect fodder for Tamizh Padam 3.0. This movie ticked every box for the masala certification - right from stalking, patriarchy, a loud villain and his mistress who was even louder, a comedian who takes pride in marrying three wives and a hero who wants to time and again touch upon social injustice to the farmers and the working class in general.
All adds up to one thing - Sivakarthikeyan is getting too big for his shoes. It was just the second show of the opening day, and one could sense the uncomfortable silence that prevailed at the theatre that was packed. Occasionally there were some hoots too, whenever you feel that the leading man wants you to think that he can slice the sky in equal parts and serve on a platter with rainbow sprinklings!
Samantha's role too had those cliches but was made to walk with a Silambam stick in her hand. She manages to make use of it in the climax - a differentiator that the director believes would make her stand out from the rest of the heroines of such movies. Soori's combination with Sivakarthikeyan this time was both a hit and a miss. There were a few funny bits, but mostly it was the dialogue rendition (as usual) from Soori that brought in the giggles.
Lal and Simran were just loud and chaotic. For Simran, the loud-mouthed Kaleshwari was a misfit. Songs from Imman were a mixed bag. "Seema Seema Seema Raja", the introductory number had that mass rhythm, while "Onnavitta Yaarum Yenakilla" was the typical rural melody we associate with Imman.
Overall, the movie that is targeted at the masses and aimed at elevating Sivakarthikeyan to the highest of echelons in the blockbuster celebrity list has misfired mainly due to cliched plot points and a stale presentation. Director Ponram's masala scale needs some calibration, and maybe there are better roles for the 'actor' in Sivakarthikeyan to perform!