Sep 29 2010
While romance is a staple in almost all Tamil films, romantic comedies don’t come along that often since things usually get atleast a little bit serious once the lovers start facing obstacles to their love. But Boss Engira Baskaran can claim to be a true-blue romantic comedy. The comedy gets a lot more weightage than the romance but since it is blended well into the main track, clean and effective in making us laugh, the film works well as an enjoyable entertainer.
Bhaskaran(Arya) hasn’t graduated yet and has attempted the English exam enough times to make friends there. His first meeting with Chandrika(Nayanthara), a trainee lecturer, doesn’t go too well but he falls for her nevertheless and it becomes easier to woo her when she ends up being the sister of the girl his older brother marries. But when he expresses his desire to marry Chandrika, everyone points out his lack of responsibility and that makes him walk out of his house to try to make it on his own.
The film can almost be seen as a coming-of-age tale as Arya falls in love, gains responsibility and succeeds in life. But it manages to tell such a tale without any hint of seriousness. From the first scenes in Arya’s house as his family wishes him good luck for his exams in a very different way, the film is a jolly affair. With Arya and Santhanam leading the way, it fills the screen with good, likeable characters(even the heartless moneylender values his son’s education over money) and funny dialogs between them. Even serious scenes are lightened up(like the background song and the subsequent unexpected joke when Arya leaves his house).
The film manages to make most of its jokes work. Whether they are long setpieces(like the entire family’s wait for Arya for a ‘key’ occasion) or one-liners(like the laments from Santhanam over Arya’s friendship), many of them hit the bull’s eye when tickling our funny bone. There are also cracks at other movies and actors that are harmless(barring a rather surprising one aimed at Kamal) and clever in-jokes(like naming the tutorial college teacher Parimala, Urvasi’s name in Mundhanai Mudichu).
The romance is sweet as befits the tone of the movie without descending into silliness that could’ve destroyed its charm. Arya’s antics as he tries to impress Nayanthara are very cute and her response as she silently enjoys it without either shooing him away or falling for them is very nice. Surprisingly, the moments of seriousness between them, like when she proposes marriage, also work.
Even the best comedies have trouble maintaining the comic momentum right up to the end and BEB runs into the same problem. While the anti-climactic answer to the question that opened the movie in typical action-movie fashion is enjoyable, the last-minute issue that leads to it isn’t. The end(which includes a cameo appearance by another actor) takes the self-aware, Kacheri Aarambam route to clear things up but while its different, it doesn’t gel with the more straightforward approach of the film’s comedy so far.
Arya has loosened up well for the role. Though there are times when we feel more expressions would have made things better, he seems more free and uninhibited than in his earlier films. After a couple of films where she looked jaded and disinterested, Nayanthara looks simple but gorgeous here. She shows a knack for comedy too(her reaction to Arya’s ‘romantic’ look is hilarious) and serves as good foil to Arya and Santhanam. Santhanam is the life of the movie. His dialog delivery hasn’t really changed but it makes most of his lines work. And though he runs a saloon, its nice that his comedy is mostly with Arya and there are no segments in the saloon(like in, say, Kuselan. The actors playing Arya’s mom, brother and sister-in-law provide able support. Yuvan delivers a rather average soundtrack and Yaar Indha Penn… is the pick of the songs in both tune and picturization. Thathi Thaavum… is picturized in a pretty interesting fashion also.
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