May 01 2012
With his first two films Siva Manasula Sakthi and Boss Engira Baskaran, director M. Rajesh earned a reputation for making light-hearted films where comedy and romance, in that order, dominate the proceedings. The formula worked twice and he makes no effort to deviate from it in his third film Oru Kal Oru Kannaadi. But it does feel like a step back as the mean streak in the humor and the feeble story take it closer to his first film SMS rather than the much more enjoyable BeB.
Saravanan(Udayanidhi Stalin), who works as an usher at Sathyam cinemas, falls for Meera(Hansika Motwani), who is training to be an air hostess. With his friend Partha(Santhanam) in tow, Saravanan makes several efforts to impress Meera but they have no effect as Meera accepts him as a friend but tells him that she has no feelings for him.
Though the movie has an interesting hook at the start, the backstory that leads to that point has no substance whatsoever. While Hansika’s role is shaped well, Udayanidhi Stalin comes off looking casual and cheap as he pursues Hansika and as he keeps flip-flopping on his attitude towards her, the absence of a real plot becomes apparent soon. After a point, the romance begins to feel like a plot device to bring Santhanam into the picture for the next comedy sequence!
The emphasis on comedy also ensures that the few dramatic points in the story are ridiculously contrived. The few opportunities that exist to add something to the story to make it more interesting are killed by being unrealistic and over-the-top((like the scene where Hansika meets a suitor), artificial and contrived(like the conversation between Udayanidhi and Santhanam that causes a rift between Udayanidhi and Hansika) or taking the easy way out to resolve issues that crop up(like the climactic resolution to the problem).
Director Rajesh definitely has a good knack for extracting humor from familiar situations. Neither the film’s story(a standard romance) nor its situations(usually Udayanidhi dumping Santhanam in favor of Hansika) are particularly fresh or unique. Still the dialogs are effective in making us laugh with a mix of wordplays, kadi jokes and gentle take-offs on other movies. Sequences like the one where Santhanam goes to Udayanidhi’s house after Saranya’s frantic call and the one where the two of them go on the flight where Hansika is the airhostess, are comic highpoints but most of the comedy sequences manage to feature at least a couple of jokes that work. The personal attacks, like the ones aimed at Santhanam’s girlfriend, are rude and don’t work well though.
The situation in Udayanidhi’s house is a perfect example of the movie’s decision to treat treat everything as comedy. Though the situation between Azhagamperumal and Saranya is sad and serious, the film never lets us see it that way since there are always some jokes to lighten the mood. Still, the scene where the problem is resolved is sweeter and more convincing than any scene between Udayanidhi and Hansika.
Udayanidhi Stalin is definitely not ready to be a full-fledged hero yet. He has a dazed expression whenever he is supposed to act innocent or cute and ends up looking silly instead. And he comes from the Bagyaraj school of dancing. Hansika looks cute and manages to be bubbly without being irritating. Santhanam is the life of the movie and his trademark dialog delivery helps elicit laughs even from jokes where the punchline is apparent. Saranya displays her subtle comic ability in many places. Harris Jayaraj’s soundtrack is predominantly romantic though its the lightly duppanguthu Venaam Machaan… that manages to be the most catchy. Adadaa Oru Devadhai… has some cute and funny images. Both Akila Akila… and Azhage Azhage… are nice numbers though Udayanidhi Stalin’s dancing doesn’t do them justice. Kaadhal Oru Butterfly… is a melodious number but again, the choreographer seems to have forgotten that.
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