UDHAVIKKU VARALAAMAA

A movie review by Balaji Balasubramaniam


Cast: Karthik, Devayani, Janakaraj, Manivannan, 'Kovai' Sarala, Jaiganesh, Anju Arvind
Music: Sirpy
Direction: Gokulakrishna

Heroes taking on different identities typically change their appearance to convey a different physical attribute. Gokulakrishna brings religion into the picture by making Karthik pose as a Brahmin, a Muslim and a Christian in Udhavikku Varalaamaa. But lack of a strong reason for Karthik taking on the three roles and the inability of the director to fashion adequately comic situations from the chaos prevent the movie from being as funny as the theme would suggest.

Muthurasu(Karthik) has come to the city to earn money to finance his mother's operation. To rent a place owned by a Brahmin couple, Muthurasu transforms himself into a Brahmin Pichumani and also falls in love with Mythili(Devayani), the couple's daughter. Getting a job at a company owned by a devout Muslim makes him put on the garb of Hussein, a Muslim. Things get more complicated when an unsafe situation makes him take on the role of Pastor James, a Christian and Stella, his secretary in the office where he works as Hussein, falls in love with him.

A hero taking on different identities and duping everyone around him is something that happens only in movies and the situations have to be viewed keeping this in mind. There is no point applying logic to such movies. But even by these standards, the foundation behind Karthik taking on these three roles is shaky. The director has the idea of Karthik posing as people from three different religions but fails to provide a strong rationale for this. With earning money his only goal, there seems to be no reason for Karthik posing as a Brahmin to rent a house. The reason behind his Christian identity is even more flimsy. So rather than enjoying his antics in these disguises, we are left wondering as to why he has to indulge in those antics in the first place.

The director's flair for comedy is obvious at several places but unfortunately, is not sustained throughout the movie. Most of the fun comes not from situations but from snappy lines of dialog that remind one of 'Crazy' Mohan's work. Karthik's unintelligible utterings on being angered and the wordplays aroung the Muslim term "Vaappaa" during his first meeting with Jaiganesh are places where the director earns some comedy points. Several other similar 'kadi's and wordplays are scattered throughout the movie. But the segments where Karthik shuffles his identities are not as hilarious.

The unnecessary, shortlived diversion into 'masala' elements hurts the movie even more. Karthik's act to lose the money is so blatantly stupid as to make us think he doesn't deserve the money in the first place! And the introduction of a villain and the fight in the bottling factory are needless and serve no purpose other than padding the running time. To the director's credit, he has attempted to convey the message of religious unity through such a lighthearted theme. Janakaraj's dialogs in the climax make some good points though his attempted justification of Karthik's acts is silly.

Karthik continues his standard style of acting and dialog delivery. Devayani is adequate though her romance with Karthik has no sparks. Manivannan makes a rather unconvincing Brahmin and his acting limitations are made more obvious by Sarala's performance as his wife. Her accent is much more believable and the mix of English leads to some funny lines. Jaiganesh has his moments as the trigger-happy, devout Muslim.