Tamil Rockerz review: A promising plot, let down by clichés


Tamil Rockerz web series review: The creators of Tamil Rockerz deserve credit for turning the gaze inwards. The series shines the light on the moral and ethical bankruptcy of the industry that breeds all sorts of problems.

Tamil Rockerz series stars Arun Vijay in the lead.

Filmmaker Arivazhagana has taken a very topical subject for his first web series, Tamil Rockerz. The infamous piracy website has been a nightmare not just for the filmmakers in Tamil Nadu but across the country. The series, starring Arun Vijay and Vani Bhojan, intends to show the victims of piracy. Instead, it ends up humanising those who run the piracy racket.

The eight-episode series, written by Manoj Kumar Kalaivanan and Rajesh Manjunath, presents Tamil Rockerz as Frankenstein’s monster created by powerful members of Tamil cinema. In the show, those who contributed to the piracy are a network of people who have been wronged by the movie bosses. For example, an associate director, who is all for writing something original as opposed to ripping off a Korean drama, finds no producers or actors to support him. The car driver of a producer, who gets no help from his boss when he needs money for his wife’s cancer treatment, is another cog in the machinery. Anybody who needs money or feels betrayed by their colleagues in the profession is a potential ‘Tamil Rocker.’

The creators of Tamil Rockerz deserve credit for turning the gaze inwards. The series shines the light on the moral and ethical bankruptcy of the industry that breeds all sorts of problems. The menace of piracy is not a new problem for the film industry. However, thanks to piracy websites such as Tamil Rockerz, what was earlier available in substandard print on DVDs transformed into high-quality HD print. When the video clarity is good, a casual viewer, who isn’t passionate about the art of cinema or a die-hard fan of a star, is unlikely to miss a theatrical experience. And to accomplish that task, the members of Tamil Rockerz have to engage in some sort of social engineering, find the right sources, nurture them and exploit them at the right time.

The show’s creators had a good idea but they have done a terrible job when it comes to turning those plot points into engaging scenes. The execution even feels amateurish and is way too predictable. Even though the showrunners have an interesting subject, to show the inner workings and the kind of technology used by those who run a piracy racket, they resort to clichés. “They (audience) watched my movie, on which I spent all my life’s savings, on a Rs 30 pirated CD,” says a producer who lost his fortune after his film flopped. Not to undercut the gravity of the pain of those who have suffered from piracy, but this is the fact that everyone knows and this line has been in circulation since DVD players became a primary part of home entertainment. Now, we are in the digital era, where the HD quality of movies is leaked online on the same day as their theatrical release. It’s a different monster. And the showrunners should have approached the story with an open mind that would have appreciated the scale and gravity of piracy.

The structure of the show feels like a riff on director Gautham Menon’s Vettaiyaadu Vilaiyaadu. A group of boys, who were brutalized in police custody, turn into psychotic criminals. Instead of serial killings, you include serial leaks of new movies, and you have the main plot of Tamil Rockerz. Arun Vijay as Rudhra, a cop on the trail of Tamil Rockerz, and Iswarya Menon as Keerthana, Rudhra’s wife, who is a movie buff, come across as the watered-down versions of the characters of Kamal Haasan and Kamalinee Mukherjee in Vettaiyaadu Vilaiyaadu sans any real chemistry. Vani Bhojan as Sandhya may come across as an independent woman. But she acts less like a cop, and more like a college girl with undeclared feelings for her senior. The showrunners couldn’t allow her to be a professional, without making her swooning over her colleague’s machismo. Such a cliché.

Tamil Rockerz is streaming on SonyLiv.


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