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Review By : Movie Run Time : 2 hour 24 minutes
Censor Rating : U
Genre : Drama, Philosophical, Political
Laabam (aka) Lhaabam review
1 of 2
Production: 7Cs Entertainment, Vijay Sethupathi Productions
Cast: Jagapati Babu, Sai Dhansika, Shruti Haasan, Vijay Sethupathi
Direction: S P Jananathan
Screenplay: Aalayamani
Story: Don Ashok
Music: D Imman
Background score: D Imman
Cinematography: Ramji
Dialogues: S P Jananathan
Editing: N. Ganeshkumar, S.P.Ahamed
Art direction: V. Selvakumar
Stunt choreography: Don Ashok

Laabam is a political film written and directed by SP Jhananathan. It has Vijay Sethupathi and Shruti Haasan in lead roles, while Kalaiyarasan, Jagapathi Babu, Ramesh Thilak and others play crucial supporting roles. The film is produced by P Arumugam under the banner 7Cs Entertainment and Vijay Sethupathi Productions.

Vijay Sethupathi plays the role of Pakkiri, who returns to his village after a gap of 6 years and decides to contest the village Farmers Association elections. While he wins unopposed after his rival faction led by Jagapathi Babu withdraws from the elections, despite becoming the leader, he gets to know that the association is indirectly under Jagapathi's control. How he manages to stabilize the lives of the villagers and raise the standards of the working class, despite opposition from the capitalists, forms the rest of the plot. 

On paper, and as an idea, Laabam is a fantastic film. Director SP Jhananathan is known for his Marxist perspective in films and he uses this as a tool to propagate the principles of Marxist economics. The issue addressed in the film is important as well. 

Unlike other films that talk about the plight of farmers, Laabam delves deep into the issue. This is probably the first film in Tamil that reflects how the system treats landless farmers, farmers with less than 2 acres land, small scale farmers and landlords differently.

In addition to this, the film portrays how the ruling class control the State comprising of the government, police and the judiciary, and exploit the working class people. All these are the basics of Marxist Philosophy and the film handles this pretty well. 

Among the performances, Vijay Sethupathi shines in another cakewalk role, while other performers like Shruti Haasan, Ramesh Thilak and Kalaiyarasan perform decently. Jagapathi Babu plays the stereotypical corporate villain but all their roles have some meat, irrespective of the screen time. 

To talk about the things that don't work in the film, there's a need to quote Communist leader Mao Tse Sung, "In art criticism, there are two criteria - Political and artistic. What we demand is the unity of politics and art, the unity of content and form, the unity of revolutionary political content and the highest possible perfection of artistic form. Works of art which lack artistic quality, have no force, no matter how progressive they are politically."

SP Jhananathan's Laabam falls short on the latter part. The technical part of the film is inconsistent, has a few flaws and that disconnects it from the audience. Therefore no matter how well the intent and politics of the film is, reaching the masses properly is a question left unanswered, especially when the film ends with the tagline "All art and technology is for the masses." One aspect that must be appreciated is director SP Jhananathan's dedication to his ideologies and sticking to it till the end, and he'll be remembered for it. 


Verdict: SP Jhananathan's Laabam is watchable for its strong content and intent.


2.5 2.5
( 2.5 / 5.0 )



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Laabam (aka) Lhaabam

Laabam (aka) Lhaabam is a Tamil movie. Jagapati Babu, Sai Dhansika, Shruti Haasan, Vijay Sethupathi are part of the cast of Laabam (aka) Lhaabam. The movie is directed by S P Jananathan. Music is by D Imman. Production by 7Cs Entertainment, Vijay Sethupathi Productions, cinematography by Ramji, editing by N. Ganeshkumar, S.P.Ahamed and art direction by V. Selvakumar.