Nov 16 2017

Spyder

Published by under Tamil Cinema

spyder

In most of our masala movies, particularly those starring a big star, the biggest problem is usually the absence of a strong villain who can go head-to-head with the hero. The need to showcase and amplify the hero’s heroism usually results in weak, neutered villains who are little more than sounding boards for the hero’s punch dialogs and punching bags for the hero’s punches. Spyder has the reverse problem. It has a fantastic, larger-than-life villain but a weak hero and so the battle between them fails to enthuse.

Sudalai(S.J.Suryah, playing the bad guy in another high-profile movie after Mersal) is not after the usual bad guy goals of money or revenge. His affliction is more deep-rooted and psychological since he simply thrives on other people’s grief. The flashback that shows his birth, the reasons behind his abnormal desire, the beginnings of these psychological stirrings and the slowly worsening consequences of their gradual development is probably the film’s best sequence. Without any of the polish that usually characterizes Murugadoss’ filmmaking, it is grim and unsettling and wouldn’t be out of place in a Bala film. Suryah too plays the character with the required manic rage.

After dreaming up such a terrific villain, its sad that Murugadoss couldn’t deliver a hero who is even half as interesting. Almost everything about Shiva(Mahesh Babu) feels wishy washy. As an Intelligence Bureau employee, his job is to listen in on people’s conversations to identify threats but unofficially, he has written a software that hones in on the word ‘help’ in conversations. The sheer magnitude of this task, considering the prevalence of a common word like “help”, is mind-boggling and he is supposed to do this single-handedly. The completely misplaced hero introduction song(part of a terrible Harris Jayaraj soundtrack) and the sight of Shiva taking on bad guys on a boat in regular masala fashion don’t help matters either.

But the film doesn’t feel like hero worship all the time and is a good mix of smarts and action. Shiva’s chase of Sudalai proceeds with some logic even if the initial red herring and subsequent twist are easily foreseen(Bharath has a rather inconsequential role). Their first face-to-face meeting is staged well(it involves a good shock) and also ends on a surprising note. The way Shiva remotely saves his family from Sudalai is another clever scene.

Shiva’s “help” fixation also leads to the romance with Shalini(Rakul Preet Singh), a girl who is looking for a one-night-stand the first time Shiva – and we – hear her. That seems mildly progressive at first but there’s nothing progressive about her role which suffers the same fate as the heroines in star vehicles.

Murugadoss draws up some interesting scenarios but goes overboard with the execution. So we start off being interested but then begin to roll our eyes as things quicky become over-the-top. A chase/fight aboard a roller coaster is the first example. A unique setting, it is nicely done initially but soon becomes too unbelievable. A longer sequence where Shiva employs some housewives to engineer an escape is another such scene. It is interesting to see housewives as action heroes but as their actions become too cinematic, the realism of the scene fades and it becomes silly. The climactic fight between Shiva and Sudalai amidst a crumbling hospital is done well though. The special effects are seamless and the action choreography as huge blocks keep falling around is impressive.

2 responses so far

Nov 13 2017

Mersal

Published by under Review,Tamil Cinema

mersal

If Atlee’s Theri was based on the Baasha template, the director goes back even further to one of the oldest stories – sons separated when young and later uniting to take revenge on the man who killed their father – for Mersal, his second film with Vijay. He injects a few topical issues, throws in some social commentary and packages it all with some rich production values and an eye on entertainment but all that can’t hide the fact that the film is still old, unoriginal wine in a new bottle.

If the fact that Vijay was playing three roles in the film wasn’t trumpeted before the release, the first half could have worked better in misdirecting the viewer and making the proceedings suspenseful. We see a doctor Maaran(Vijay), who treats patients for Rs. 5 back home in India, talk passionately about humanity and free healthcare for all at a conference in Belgium, interact with his mom(Kovai Sarala) and woo a doctor Anupallavi(Kajal Agarwal). But we also see him perform magic as he beats up some robbers and then target a senior doctor(Hareesh Peradi), who he proceeds to kill in front of a big audience during a magic show.

The humanitarian doctor/vengeful magician is is an interesting combination that could have piqued our interest. But knowing about Vijay’s triple role beforehand, we simply wait for the twist that we know is coming. The way the twist is revealed is perfunctory and makes little impact(a little more time could have been spent on showing us how we were tricked until then). Before that we are given another superficial romance, this time between Maaran and Tara(Samantha), a reporter who interviews him. Like Kajal, Samantha sticks around for the obligatory duet and has nothing more to do.

The superficial way in which the screenplay is handled leads to several logical loopholes in these places. As in Aboorva Sagotharargal, one brother gets in trouble for the doings of the other but the situation leads to neither comedy nor suspense as it is hardly given time to develop. It is simply used for a single fight sequence before being used as a lead-in to the obligatory flashback.

The seed for medical malpractice has been laid earlier since the film begins with the kidnapping of some people connected with the field of medicine. The transformation of medicine into business eventually turns out to be the film’s crux as the film touches upon a number of subjects like forced cesarean births, doctors hiding patient deaths(this was shown in Ramanaa too), collusion between different people working at a hospital, etc. Recent tragic news items related to the field are also used to drive home the point. Barring the opening sequence, which is eventually traced back to some unfortunate deaths, the events related to medical atrocities happen in the flashback as Vetrimaaran(Vijay) and his wife(Nitya Menen, who has a little more to do than both other heroines) establish a hospital in their village and are then duped by Daniel(S.J.Suryah), a rich doctor. The flashback is really violent and lays the sentiments on thick but is also the segment that resonates somewhat since both Vetrimaaran and his wife are fleshed out more than the other characters.

As a star Vijay dances(the Mersal Arasan… song is the pick of the lot), fights and delivers punchlines with gusto but as an actor probably at the peak of his career, its disappointing that he makes no effort to distinguish between the 3 characters he plays. Being bearded is as far as he goes to differentiate one role from the other two and he plays all three roles in the same manner(he did this in Azhagiya Thamizh Magan too where he played the bad guy in the same style that he plays all his other roles). He doesn’t even go as far as he did in Kaththi, where he played Jeevanandham as a pacifist throughout. But here the doctor, who we first see being harassed at a foreign airport, saving a woman and then accepting a humanitarian award, initially looks to be calm and dignified but he becomes thara local when threatened by a senior doctor and ends up fighting too when the opportunity presents itself.

9 responses so far

Oct 11 2017

Mom

Published by under Hindi Cinema

mom

Rape and revenge dramas can easily cross the line and feel lurid and/or exploitative. But Mom doesn’t feel that way since it treats the subject with the sensitivity it requires. But the revenge part of it pushes it from drama to a masala film.

The titular mom is Devki(Sridevi), a stepmom trying hard to earn the affections of her stepdaughter Arya(Sajal Ali) at home and a biology teacher at school. The dynamics between Devki and Arya are subtly done. Devki doesn’t try too hard to earn Arya’s love but her disappointment is obvious while Arya isn’t blatantly rude but her coldness towards Devki is expressed through small but significant actions. The dad is a mute spectator most of the time.

Arya is kidnapped and raped after a party she attends. The rape itself is not shown though there are enough hints to make us aware of the horror she is going through. The way Devki indirectly plays a part in the whole episode further pushes Arya away from her and Sridevi is terrific in these portions as she breaks down and later cares for Arya. The rapists are set free by the court and that pushes Devki to punish them on her own. Helping her is a private detective DK(Nawazuddin Siddiqui, almost unrecognizable) while a cop(Akshaye Khanna) is unhappy about the rapists being set free but isn’t about to let them be killed either.

It feels good to see Devki turn avenger and go after the people who destroyed her daughter’s life. It starts off plausibly enough as she takes some help to perform a kidnapping and some surgery. But things get overly cinematic. It becomes difficult to accept when she correctly finds and destroys hard drives from security cams, hacks into computers, modifies search history and fixes the time setting. Some background, some setup to lead up to all this would’ve helped. Maybe a background in computers. Maybe a quick lesson from Nawaz. But a biology teacher suddenly transforming into this cool, meticulous, multi-talented woman is difficult to swallow and takes away from the thrill of her actions.

A family vacation allows the climax to unfold in a snowy landscape that is both beautiful and bleak. Almost every step of it is predictable. But since the stepmom-daughter dynamics play as important a part as the revenge track, there is a particular moment among those steps that is crucial and that we know is coming. But it is still beautifully done and impactful, both in the way it is built up and in the immediate aftermath.

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Oct 04 2017

Puriyatha Puthir

Published by under Review,Tamil Cinema

puriyatha-puthir

Vijay Sethupathi’s stardom is in a rather mystifying phase. After steadily rising up the ranks with several BO hits, the audience response and his charisma saw many critics and observers anointing him a superstar after Vikram Vedha. But the actor is appearing in so many movies that most of his movies still hit the screens without the hype or publicity that one associates with a film from a leading actor. Puriyatha Puthir is one such film (while production delays could have contributed to the lack of interest surrounding Puriyatha Puthir, even as I’m writing this review, another VS film Karuppan has already been released and hasn’t created any noticeable ripples).

Like Lens, Puriyatha Puthir is also a film about the dangers of voyeurism – particularly the increasingly prevalent problem of videos being disseminated and the devastating consequences to the unwitting participants. It is a timely and topical issue though the film’s screenplay prevents it from being as hard hitting as Lens.

Kathir(Vijay Sethupathi) is an aspiring music director who also runs a music store that is owned by his friend. It is at the store that he meets Meera(Gayathrie), a music teacher. Their romance is sweet with both casual conversations and light-hearted flirting – mostly from Kathir. VS shows us that he can be a convincing romantic lead also and as always, conveys his feelings, whether its giddiness after a phone call or mock pouting after he is rebuffed, with subtle expressions.

The troubles start when Kathir gets a sexy photo of Meera and quickly escalate as he gets more vulgar videos. Meera too gets the feeling that she is being stalked at her apartment complex. Meera’s situation is scary and Kathir’s paranoia feels real as he desperately tries to find the person sending these messages. The film doesn’t have too many characters to function as suspects and that dilutes some of the suspense but it does create curiosity about who is targeting Kathir(the bit on the bridge is particularly nasty) and what their motivations are and that keeps us involved.

The reveal is a very good surprise and the director does a good job by sidetracking us in a somewhat abrupt and disappointing manner before the actual twist. But the obligatory flashback that follows isn’t that successful. First it asks us to swallow a pretty big contrivance about a character having absolutely no memory of another character. And second, with the major suspense already broken, it takes too long to tell a story that we are easily able to guess a short while into the flashback.

5 responses so far

Oct 02 2017

Neruppuda

Published by under Review,Tamil Cinema

neruppuda

Vikram Prabhu plays Guru, a fireman in Neruppuda. He and his 4 friends have dreamed of becoming firemen since they were in school and are now trainees with only a written exam standing in the way of becoming full-fledged firemen. Though the film’s title directly addresses fire and the hero is a fireman, the profession hardly makes any difference to the story. I wasn’t expecting Backdraft but its still disappointing that fires and fire-fighting play no part in the main story. The job helps give Guru a heroic introduction(he saves a kid from a burning hut) but that’s about it. There is a token fire at the end that is used for an important reason and is then put out by him but that hardly justifies the film’s emphasis on fire through that title and his job.

The only aspect it somewhat plays a part in is Guru’s romance with Vasumathi(Nikki Galrani). But its one of those romances that the director felt the need to insert since a masala movie isn’t complete without it but then wanted to get it over with quickly to focus on the main story. Her “I love you” is too soon and sudden even with her story about idolizing him and she is quickly shoved aside after a duet and has little role to play until the usual “damsel in distress” part at the end.

The primary track sees Guru clash with a rowdy Pulianthoppu Ravi(Madhusudhan Rao) after an unfortunate altercation between one of Guru’s friends and Sadha(Vincent Asokan), Ravi’s friend. This clash is kept interesting as Guru keeps trying to get out of it and keeps getting pulled back in by one misunderstanding after another. So the proceedings aren’t always predictable and there is suspense and and even a few laughs in the ways in which Guru and Ravi end up running into each other. But there is always the feeling that this battle between the two of them isn’t hefty enough to prop up the full movie and so the story feels stagnant notwithstanding all the small twists in Guru-Ravi story.

The expectation that there is something more turns out to be valid but it is a case of too little too late. The suspense about a major massacre isn’t maintained long enough to be built up and the big reveal isn’t strong enough to be a good payoff even for the little suspense. The proceedings – the location, the dialogs, a key performance – all feel a little over-the-top after the low-key nature of the movie till then.

4 responses so far

Sep 12 2017

Jab Harry Met Sejal

Published by under Hindi Cinema

Jab-Harry-Met-Sejal

What is it about the pairing of Shah Rukh Khan and Anushka that drives directors to dream up their most moronic scripts? First there was Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi, where both of them played characters who were mean, selfish and unlikable. I don’t remember much about Jab Tak Hai Jaan but I do remember there was a scene where the two of them talk about love when he is dismantling a bomb. Those were both movies by reputed directors. The former was from Aditya Chopra who gave us DDLJ and the latter from Yash Chopra, who has delivered several romantic hits. Now Imtiaz Ali, the man behind films like Jab We Met and Rockstar, delivers another clunker with the same pair.

We’ve had movies where girls who are engaged fall for someone else. But for the storyline to work, the girl’s change of heart needs to be convincing with the sense that she tried to resist falling for the hero but couldn’t. That’s not how it is here. Anushka plays Sejal, who is engaged to be married. On a group tour of Europe, she loses her engagement ring and with no idea where she lost it, she wants to visit the places she could’ve lost the ring in and asks Harry(SRK), the tour guide, to accompany her on the quest.

We’ve had worse setups for romances but its Sejal’s characterization that’s the main issue here. None of her actions make any sense. There is no clear reason for why she wants to hang out with Harry even after he lays out the risks and suggests a safer option. And when she is with him she goes to bars against his advice, she flirts with him, cuddles up to him and asks him to think of her as his girlfriend(because he is lonely!). All this while talking lovingly with her fiance and proudly declaring that she will leave Harry with no emotions whatsoever the moment the ring is found. So at any given point  in the film she is comes across as being an idiot(the biggest moment being when she finds the ring), completely heartless, a flirt or a tease.

Harry comes across as more real. He misses home and jumps from girlfriend to girlfriend trying to fill the void in his life. So his character arc is more convincing as he slowly falls for Sejal and alternates between warning her, pulling away from her and getting closer to her. SRK delivers a mature performance though he has the advantage that Harry gains sympathy just by way of having to put up with Sejal’s actions.

The film takes us to several spots in Europe as the two go ring hunting but there are really no places or shots that make us go “Wow!”. And the film is proof that a bigger budget cannot get you foreign actors who act well. Radha… and Beech Beech Mein… are picturized with energy and are bright spots.

7 responses so far

Sep 07 2017

Anbanavan Asaradhavan Adangadhavan

Published by under Review,Tamil Cinema

aaa

With films like Vinnaithaandi Varuvaaya and Vaanam a few years ago, Simbhu seemed to have made a positive change in his career with some meaningful films mixed in with the usual fan-targeted, mass masala films(like Osthi). Our hopes were dashed a teeny bit with each new film he acted in but with his latest film Anbanavan Asaradhavan Adangadhavan, those meaningful films are now little more than a distant memory.

Director Adhik Ravichandran must be a really big fan of Simbhu or have an inflated idea about the size of the actor’s fan base. Almost every scene of Simbhu in the film is fashioned like a hero intro scene with slo-mo shots and people extolling his virtues before he makes an appearance. It doesn’t matter if he is simply sitting at a tea stall waiting to talk with his lover, walking away after talking to his boss or walking into a house to help his friend. His appearance is always accompanied by loud music and slo-mo shots.

For his part, Simbhu himself looks like he really enjoys all the attention. He sings songs praising his fans, swishes his fingers, refers to his old – and upcoming – movies, makes comments about his personal life, spouts philosophies and periodically utters the punch word Sirappu, an obvious rip-off of Kabali‘s Magizchi. It doesn’t take long for this hero worship to become intolerable.

After a small, amateurish segment in Dubai that sees an agent Ruby(Kasturi) take down a drug mafia boss, the story moves to 80s Madurai, where Michael(Simbhu) is a feared gangster working for Senthamarai. The 80s setting with the associated getups(unruly hair, beards, patterned shirts  and flared pants) remind us of Subramaniapuram but that’s where the comparison ends. AAA gives us a moronic romance which sees Michael, who is in love with Selvi(Shriya), locks lips with her dad(Y.G.Mahendran) more than with her(since the dad keeps getting electrocuted and has to to be revived with mouth-to-mouth resuscitation). The segment is little more than bad jokes(a given considering Simbhu’s friend is played by VTV Ganesh) interspersed with spiels about friendship.

In the second half, the film fast forwards to 2017 with Michael now transformed into a grayed but otherwise completely youthful Ashwin thatha. We are told that this transformation happened in Dubai where he became a dreaded don but there is not a single moment spent on how this happened. Its like this big hole in the story that was left out either because the director couldn’t come up with a plausible scenario(unlikely since that didn’t stop him from making the rest of the movie), they didn’t have the budget to shoot in Dubai or they just didn’t care. My money is on the third choice.

There is no hint of Ashwin’s gangster past after that either and the film once again follows the romantic route. This time Ashwin falls for Ramya(Tamannah), who works at an old age home. The film continues with the cheap comedy as Ashwin tries to impress Ramya and one of the old women(played, predictably, by Kovai Sarala) make the moves on him. A final twist leads to many things – a chance for Simbhu to play a different character, an opportunity for him to indulge in some villainy and a cameo by G.V.Prakash(the hero of Adhik’s previous film Trisha Illana Nayanthara). But the scariest consequence ends up being the promise of a sequel.

11 responses so far

Aug 29 2017

Vivegam

Published by under Review,Tamil Cinema

vivegam

After Veeram and Vedhalam, Ajith teams up with director Siva for the 3rd time in Vivegam. Thankfully the duo haven’t settled for another mass masala movie and have given us an action thriller on an international canvas.

Ajith plays Ajay Kumar or AK, a member of a counter terrorist squad. The film is modeled along the lines of an entry in the  James Bond or Mission Impossible series as it moves from one action set piece to the next with some down time for exposition between them. These action blocks which drive the film are varied and mostly done well. A bike chase, a short shoot-out on a road and a duel between AK and two others beside railway tracks are all staged well and the sequence where a badly battered AK trains his way back to strength, with Anirudh’s fast-paced Thalai Vidhuthalai… blasting in the background, is inspiring.

There is hardly any romance between AK and Yazhini(Kajal Agarwal) with only a scene at a hotel she owns and a song(the lovely Kaadhalaada…) struggling to show the non-existent chemistry between them. Once the action begins, she becomes the typical damsel in distress though she does get to actually help AK a little. Her knowledge of Morse code comes in handy at a crucial time and in a scene reminiscent of Tom Cruise and the precog escaping in Minority Report, she helps AK infiltrate the counter terrorist squad headquarters.

The film is really techno-heavy as a lot of high-tech gadgetry is employed throughout. With the foreign setting, these don’t seem out of place and in many places, are used sensibly(even if the implementation seems too futuristic, as with the hologram generator or the way the bad guy hones in on Yazhini in the train through webcams). The director also tries to add some urgency to the proceedings by attaching a time limit to most events. The urgency is rarely felt in the actions of the characters as they race against time but a countdown, whether its the time before a bomb explodes or the time AK has to disable some power systems while Yazhini is stashed in a train, keeps things moving.

But when the movie goes over the top, it really goes over the top. Oddly enough, the worst of these occur at the start and the end of the film. The opening action block gives a good intro to Ajith but then turns ridiculous when he falls backward from a bridge, manages to evade bullets from multiple shooters while shooting and killing many among them, plunges into the water with his sunglasses intact and survives. The climactic fight, while taking place in a good setting, loses all seriousness with Yazhini launching into a song with gusto while being tied up and AK ripping off his shirt and posing like a contestant in the Mr. Universe competition before fighting.

The screenplay that ties the action pieces together doesn’t do the job well. It feels too shallow and superficial with a lot of the narrative turns happening due to AK’s intuition and hunches. The seriousness of the damage that could be caused by whatever AK is after never comes across well and the bad guy is a joke. So AK’s chase lacks the suspense and tension that drives such thrillers.

Whenever the characters opens their mouth, the film lays bare its crude mass masala sensibilities. It starts right from Ajith, who seems to have replaced punchlines with punch paragraphs(probably from the time the en vaazhkai… dialog from Billa 2 became popular)! Instead of pithy comebacks or snappy one-liners, he utters these long, philosophical lines and labors over them for so long that he seems to be talking in slow motion. These sound ridiculous in many places, like the opening sequence where he starts talking with a whole police force facing him and probably would’ve been riddled with bullets before got the first word out. As is the case in our hero-centric films, we also have everyone singing the hero’s praises every chance they get and it sounds silly when even the bad guy gets into the act.

13 responses so far

Aug 24 2017

Velai Illa Pattadhari 2

Published by under Review,Tamil Cinema

vip2

Velai Illa Pattadhari was great masala film with a near-perfect mix of humor, sentiments, romance and action. It was well-made but its biggest strength was that all these aspects were subtle and low-key, which added a dash of realism to the proceedings and made us forget that we were watching a star-driven masala film, which it undoubtedly was. It is the low-key touch that is missing from the sequel Velai Illa Pattadhari 2, which sees Soundarya Rajnikanth take over directing duties.

Velai Illa Pattadhari 2 is a true sequel in that it continues the story with the same characters(the only change is that Anitha, who was played by Surabhi in the first part is now played by Ritu Verma). Its a couple of years after the events in the first part. Raghuvaran(Dhanush), no longer a VIP, is still working for Anitha Constructions while holding on to the dream of launching his own construction company with the other VIPs who helped him successfully complete the project in the first film.

He is now married to Shalini(Amala Paul) and the relationship between them is one of the casualties of the film’s loud approach. The independent, understanding Shalini from the first film is now the kind of wife who inspires all those Whatsapp jokes about terrorizing wives and meek husbands. She has even given up her dental clinic job to take care of things at home and is constantly shouting at Raghuvaran. Raghuvaran’s father(Samuthirakani) is reduced to a bystander in this relationship, making jokes about Raghuvaran’s situation and sympathizing with him. The film doesn’t characterize her as a heartless shrew since there is always an underpinning of affection in her anger but the broad and familiar comedy does make us miss the gentle humor that marked the romance before(it is brought up in a conversation Raghuvaran has with his mother-in-law, another character who has been forced to change for the sake of laughs).

Surprisingly the track with Vivek, Cell Murugan and Vivek’s unseen wife Thangapushpam, which was the source of broad comedy in the first part, has been sidetracked here with only a couple of references.

This time around Raghuvaran butts heads with Vasundhara(Kajol), the head of Vasundhara Constructions, one of the largest construction companies in South India. When he first insults her(by saying no to a job offer) and then steals a prestigious project from right under her nose, she gets Anitha Constructions’ projects cancelled, which forces Raghuvaran to quit his job and become a VIP again. But the fight between Raghuvaran and Vasundhara doesn’t generate any sparks. With Vasundhara always stopping him before he can do anything substantial, their war never goes beyond threats issued by her and punch dialogs uttered by him. Unlike the first part, where he actually had to deal with strong issues while executing his project, Raghuvaran never actually overcomes anything here. He is still the underdog but doesn’t give us many opportunities to cheer for him.

The goodwill earned by VIP has been exploited well and stands the sequel in good stead in many areas. References to events from the film and the return of Raghuvaran’s mother(Saranya) as a figment of his imagination evoke strong reactions mainly because everything in the first film was so well-liked. Anirudh’s music is also sorely missed(Sean Roldan isn’t able to match up to him), as is evident in the times when the music from the first part is played.

Eventually its the quiet moments that make the film work. The way Shalini brings up the subject of returning to work or Raghuvaran’s father’s reaction when he wants to use the house as collateral are some of these moments that are effective because of their quietness and the lack of drama. The climax too could fall under that category. It goes on for a bit too long but is very different from the usual action climaxes. It is probably the only part where the film that fares better than its predecessor.

5 responses so far

Aug 17 2017

Gemini Ganesanum Surulirajanum

Published by under Review,Tamil Cinema

ggsr

Combining the names of a yesteryear romantic hero and a comedian(from a different era) who is fondly remembered for his unique and distinctive style does lead to a catchy title that is suitable for a romantic comedy. But director Ilavarasu Odam apparently used up all his creative energy in coming up with the title for his film since beyond the title, there is very little creativity in evidence in either the romance or the comedy in his film Gemini Ganesanum Surulirajanum.

The film is an attempt to do a rom-com take on Cheran’s Autograph(the film is explicitly referenced at a few places). It starts off with Gemini Ganesan(Atharva) showing up at self-styled don Suruli’s house. Soori plays Suruli and with the cops looking for him, and his name occupying half the title, it initially looks like he would get a track of his own. But he is then relegated to the usual sidekick role of accompanying Ganesan and delivering reaction shots to his story. But he fares a lot better than Rajendran who gets the even more thankless role of a driver who simply drives Gemini and Suruli around.

Gemini is looking for Lavanya, who was a tenant at the house, to give her his wedding invitation. He and Suruli head out to locate her and during the journey, Suruli learns about the exploits of Gemini, who was a commitment-phobic serial lover. Aside from Lavanya(Regina Cassandra), Atharva also had brief romances with Saroja(Aaditi), Priya(Pranitha) and Pooja(Aishwarya Rajesh).

The problem is that none of these romances are likeable or believable. The need to fit 4 romances into the running time leads to all of them being quick and very superficial. The girls(Pooja fares a little better than the other 3) uniformly come across as silly and naive as they fall for Gemini for no obvious reason and he indulges in some meaningless acts(the silliest one sees him pick a random foreigner begging on the street and give him a shave!) to impress them. And after such brief romances, it sounds ridiculous when the girls get all serious and talk about marriage.

The comedy is supposed to come from the timing of these romances as Gemini surprises Suruli – and us – with how he managed to carry on more than one romance at the same time. But showing us how Gemini two-timed women multiple times doesn’t really count as comedy even if Atharva tries to act all cute and his behavior is later given a ridiculous back story(it involves Gemini Ganesan and his on-screen image). The only good laughs come near the end as a sudden, out-of-place sentimental scene is used nicely and is later followed by a funny twist that involves Suruli.

One response so far

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