Cellphone adicha ring-u, Booloham adicha sang-u
Booloham adicha knockout-u, ini edhuku da fight-u
Sandaiku theva nidhanam, Booloham Adicha mayanam
Nope. These dialogues weren’t written by a five year old. These are dialogues from a serious moment in Bhooloham. A film that has been in the cans for a long time has finally seen the light of the day, just ahead of Christmas this year.
Two weeks ago, we reviewed another sports-action film, Eetti. We talked about how most Tamil sports movies follow the same template. The protagonist battles the odds. The literal physical fight, which is connected by a plot-driven struggle against a larger problem in his life. The epic finale at the end. We know he’s going to win it, but the screenplay still brings us to the edge of our seat.
Booloham is the same. Except here it’s boxing. A massive and ferocious Jaya Ravi (who obligingly poses for the audience every 30 minutes) take on a regional and national champion, before taking on the ‘Half-hulk’ Nathan Jones in the climax.
Booloham’s hero also takes on TRP hungry media companies, and shows how they misuse public attention for profits. The intentions of the film are noble. But a good concept falters so badly in its execution, that the film looks close to being a spoof of itself.
Jayam Ravi as Booloham is a North Madras boxer who wants to avenge his father’s death. His father was also a boxer. He puts in a convincing performance, looks the part, and has a believable Chennai accent. He also makes scary faces throughout the first half. He snarls, and puts his tongue out with an angrily-distorted expression. Don’t worry folks, he’s just posing for posters. He then edits the photo and adds some background effects. A volcano, some lightning, and two lions roaring. Fierce, eh?
Trisha plays the girlfriend. She has tattoos of Booloham all over her body. Booloham is more interested in discovering these tattoos than, you know, just being with her. But no, she says, marriage first. Tattoos she may have, but she’s ‘Sanskari’ too. She’s also Malayali. We know she is Malayali because someone calls her the ‘Malayali ponnu’. Later she appears in a white and gold saree. Why, you ask? Just like that.
Booloham initially gives us no reason to like him. He is full of revenge. He wants to kill his opponent in the ring. He doesn’t care a damn about his family. He taunts his opponent by pasting his posters at the opponent’s house. The opponent wins our sympathies by minding his own business and being a thorough professional. But later, Booloham has a change of heart. (He is the hero after all.) He takes on a media baron (Prakash Raj).
While the film has a broad critique of how the media manipulates the audience, the director takes the thought to its logical conclusion by making Prakash Raj into a blood sucking villain. Prakash Raj even says, “I want someone to die in this tournament. Only then will the audience get excited”. Phew.
There’s Troy’s Nathan Jones. Most of the time, his expression says, “Why am I in this film at all?” He plays a sadistic boxer who would prefer killing his opponent to fighting him. Booloham decides to taunt him, but this time, posters aren’t enough. He makes memes and publishes them on Facebook. The lines say things like, “Booloham lifting mountain, George spitting fountain”, “Booloham is well, George go to hell”. An adult might say ‘That’s cute’ and laugh, but George is enraged. In typical Kollywood villain style, he screams, “Boolohaaaaaam! I will kill youuu!”
But behind this villain is another villain. And that is music director Srikanth Deva. His background score is basically noise, and it’s best to carry an aspirin into the theatre. His last collaboration with Jayam Ravi was the 2003 film M.Kumaran Son of Mahalakshmi. That film too had hilarious lines in the background score. When the heroine entered the scene, he would scream in the BGM, ‘Heyyy yellow churidaaar’ and in fight scenes between the father and son, he’d sing “Dad Vs. Son, Dad vs. son!” Over a decade has passed, but he still hasn’t tired of it. During Booloham’s introduction scenes, he sings, “He’s a boxer, he’s a fighter, he’s Booloham!” It did say that in the poster, you know.
Meanwhile, the lyricists were asked to add relevant lyrics to complement the boxing. This is what they came up with:
“…Left -tu punch-u right-tu punch-u upper punch-u lower punch-u
rep-u punch-u pup-u punch-u”
The boxing scenes are choreographed really well. A seven-foot something Nathan Jones takes on Jayam Ravi, and somehow it’s believable. We don’t see our hero winning right away. Eventually, he does. (In case the ending wasn’t obvious, these lyrics give us a clue, “tamil naadu champion nu india champion nu international champion nu”). Jayam Ravi then has a preachy speech for the audience, about not being fooled by corporates.
Bhooloham has one knock-out punch that no one saw coming. Sadly, it’s straight at the audiences’ eardrums.
The Bhooloham review is a Silverscreen original article. It was not paid for or commissioned by anyone associated with the movie. Silverscreen.in and its writers do not have any commercial relationship with movies that are reviewed on the site.