A look at Tamil films that are so bad, they are good.
Is it easy to review a film? Maybe, it is — in case you put out a tweet or write a post on Facebook. But, certainly, it is not easy to reason out properly why you don’t like a film. Maybe, that’s why, they say, a critic’s job isn’t easy.
Every year has its good and bad films, but it takes a special quality to be both good and bad at the same time. I am talking about films that were made sincerely, yet fail on every level — and are hilarious — as a result. Here are such films that are so bad, they are good.
Evanukku Engeyo Matcham Irukku
Yeah, we all cringe while saying that title aloud that loosely translates into “he has a mole somewhere”. Yes, I know what are you thinking now. A few laughs here and there does not rescue this never-ending-stale-drag fest. A word of caution to filmmakers like Mukesh: don’t make a f***-all movie in the name of an ‘adult comedy’, please!
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A group of wannabe filmmakers try to find a script so that they can make a film. What do they do? They pitch in a “Baahubali-like” story and an “Enthiran-like” story to a producer. Unsatisfied, the producer wants them to think of ‘a novel idea’, and even suggests that they find an “interesting character”. This aspiring woman director tracks down one such “interesting character” and pursues him. But hey, did that group of filmmakers finally make a film? God only knows. Sei means ‘do’. Guess what? The film did nothing.
The film revolves around the life of an avid Ajith Kumar fan who mouths loud-annoying lines like, “Thala rasigan-na uyira kudukka dhaan theriyum, uyira eduka theriyadhu”. I wonder how the makers, first of all, chose to release Billa Pandi for Diwali — considering the amount of toxic masculinity it had. According to the director Raj Sethupathy, a widow is a “bad omen”. Also, there is another reference of a prospective bride being compared with “fresh bondas”. Seriously?
Susienthiran’s protagonist Dinesh Kumar (Roshan) is diagnosed with schizophrenia. And he is taken to a ‘massage parlour’ to ‘cure’ his illness. The film actually sets out to discuss the current-day education system and the adverse effects of pressurising a child to score well. Leave everything apart. I still remember how Priscilla was pronounced with a ‘K’ instead of a ‘C’. Horrible. The film is anything but its title!
Just imagine a star like Vikram saying things like, “Naan saamy illa… bootham” with his beefed-up muscles stretch. Again, just imagine when he accidentally brushes against a police uniform, he thinks of his father, Aaruchaamy and gets some transformative vibes. He wants to become an IAS officer but ends up a cop because of ‘poorva jenma’ connection and all that. I didn’t visit the theaters to see ‘Anniyan’ in Saamy Square. Enough said.
There is this line in ‘Vaaren’ song that goes “Aracha maava arachaalum… adhukku venum oru thiramai”. (Even to ‘recycle’ things, you need talent). This totally sums up the Sivakarthikeyan-starrer. The film was problematic on multiple levels. You get a boring flashback portion, besides a subplot that discusses farmers’ issues. Yawn. Soori calls his wife — Jil, Jung and Juk. He has forgotten their real names because they’re too tough to recall. Enough of the objectification? Still not. There is another scene where a fat woman comes running to the stage, and we hear the sound of an elephant’s trumpet in the background. Director Ponram thinks all this is funny.
Trisha plays a double role — Mohini and Vaishnavi — in this film. A spirit takes revenge on others by entering into the body of its lookalike. Naturally, double-trouble. The story is a rehash of your typical horror film template that becomes very predictable starting from scratch. Mohini, like Nayaki, is a film that will make you feel why someone like Trisha should even attempt after being in the industry for close to 16 years.
This is also on the lines of Trisha Illana Nayanthara, Bruce Lee and Kadavul Irukaan Kumaru. Kuzhanthai (GV Prakash) thinks it is okay to stalk a girl. When she doesn’t give in, he even says, “Bhoomi suthinadha vida, pasanga ponnungala jaasthi suthirkaanga.” Despite having strong comedians on board like Kovai Sarala, Mansoor Ali Khan and Yogi Babu, the end product isn’t all that impressive.
An Indian-based doctor in the US learns that he is adopted and decides to come to India to trace his roots and biological parents. This search forms the narrative of the Vijay Antony-starrer. The film, directed by Kiruthiga Udhayanidhi, is failed by execution and has several loopholes in the plot. The premise of Kaali is bizarre and outdated at the same time. As an actor, Vijay Antony barely shows any nuance in emotions or action. And this plays to his disadvantage on the whole.
Iruttu Arayil Murattu Kuthu (IAMK)
If a film comes with the ‘A’ certificate in Tamil cinema, it means it has the ‘license’ to say and show anything on the screen. The four friends stay at a beachside bungalow, and they eventually realise the house is haunted by a ghost with an insatiable sex drive. Laced with crass objectification of women, double entendre dialogues, lewd gestures and gags, IAMK becomes a butt of jokes especially post-interval. The film also engages in homophobia, and the lead characters often constantly shame a character for being a gay person.
The film follows the ’80s loud commercial template — a larger-than-life hero, two sidekicks, ample sentiments, songs and a few fights. It is hard to decide what genre Pakka belongs to (there’s lot of very lazy writing involved), but for sure, it is not an entertainer. We keep waiting for something to happen. But there is really nothing. Why, for that matter, is this film called Pakka? There is no answer.
Director Vijay has tried to make the audience feel what the loss of an unborn is like. But how does an aborted foetus turn into a ghost? There is no clear answer as to why baby Diya decides to take revenge on her parents five years after the abortion. Vijay puts out a message at the end of the film that reads, “What if those foetuses had grown up to be Abdul Kalams and Indira Gandhis?” One minute silence for that sentence. As a woman, I can’t buy this idea of making someone guilty of their decision — to not have a baby. Well, the couple could have opted for an abortion because they weren’t equipped enough to handle a baby. No, the director doesn’t seem to talk about the value of one’s life logically.
Horror films, as a genre, evoke extreme responses — you either love them or hate them. But what is bothering me of late, is the attempt to ‘normalise’ misogynistic practices in films to get the desired tone of the film. For instance, Nagesh Thiraiyarangam has lines like “Aandavan ponnungalukku azhaga kudutha maadhiri, aambalaingalukku ariva kuduthurkaan.” It makes me sad and disappointed to see how films are made by people who seldom care about objectifying women again and again. The story revolves around a real estate builder, who wants to sell his father’s old property, a movie theater, but finds that the building is possessed by a ghost. The film has a tiring flashback and a confusing screenplay.
Sundar C has this habit of thinking a catchy title and then spinning a story around it. Kalakalappu 2 certainly looked more colourful than the original, but that is not simply enough for a good premise. After taking us through the core plot, the filmmaker keeps introducing us to newer sub-plots and more characters. This makes the storyline diluted. Being a franchise, the filmmaker had to explore the genesis of the main characters and trace back their relationship with each other at some point. But no, Sundar C doesn’t do that. Kalakalappu 2 has all the lazy cliches intended to make the film appear manipulatively audience-friendly. There is nothing endearing about buffoonery which involves a group of grown men and women putting up a dud show.
Oru Nalla Naala Paathu Solren (ONNPS)
A convoluted narrative does not make a film different, and this was the problem with the Vijay Sethupathi-starrer. Oru Nalla Naala Paathu Solren is just another mindless fantasy film which neither entertains nor leaves you wanting for more. After 20 minutes into the story, you don’t want to watch this pointless film anymore. Everything in ONNPS is an exaggeration to the power of ten. There is no logic. There is no magic although there are some insanely funny moments in between.
If I meet Vikram again, I would want to ask him what made him sign Sketch. Because the film feels too generic for a star like Vikram to have acted in it. In the film, masculinity is just defined by the ability to single-handedly fight a bunch of goons and Vikram’s temper is applauded as a heroic quality. The story is all about hero-worshipping the protagonist, and nothing else. Sketch is a half-Bheema, half-Rajapattai and a bit of Gemini combined distastefully.