In Dhillukku Dhuddu (Money for Guts), Santhanam, bitten by the ‘mass hero’ bug has an introduction song where the dance moves, sets, and music are very similar to the 20-odd Vijay movies that were released between 2003-2010. The visuals, especially, seem quite literally ‘inspired’ by a song in Thirupachi in which Vijay smears viboodhi on his forehead before making a slo-mo turn to smile into the camera. Santhanam’s mass hero urge seems to have pushed him to do the 30-40 second continuous dance-shots involving jerky kneeling, bending – a style that STR thinks he has patented.
We are just six months into this year and Dhillukku Dhuddu is probably the 10th horror-comedy of 2016. So stale has this genre become that even Rambhala’s Lollu Sabha tricks do not manage to pull this one off.
The film starts with an excruciatingly juvenile love story. Kumar and Kajal, as 10 year old kids, were close friends at school but are eventually sent to different schools. Now in her mid-twenties, Kajal claims to have fallen in love with Kumar as a kid and would definitely propose her love for him if they met again – if he is still single, of course. Kumar is now a vetti guy who breaks into Kajal’s home to steal her father’s car. She turns him in to the cops. He seeks vengeance by kidnapping her and threatening to break her face (in those exact words!). But Kajal has found out who Kumar is and has kept her word about falling in love with him – and his misogyny. The story then moves very slowly and painfully on to the ‘haunted-bungalow-atop-a-fictional-hill’ phase and ghost antics – flickering lights, slamming doors, heavy breathing etc. – ensue. The love story stays absurd even after the couple gets together – complete with a bad duet, and even worse lip-syncing by Shanaya, who plays Kajal
The climax sequence is a ridiculous farce, even as Santhanam tries to make it work with his best acting. But we wish Santhanam had realised that his type of insult-comedy had become redundant. Calling someone “mangoose mandaya” might have made us laugh in 2010, but it is six years later, and “pazhaiya paalkova,” “muttaiya thedi vandha dinosaur,” or “coat-u pota koranguI” are simply not funny anymore.
We should have taken a cue from Santhanam’s last release, Inimey ippadithan. We think he was signaling his arrival as a hero and leaving his days as a sidekick behind him. We certainly don’t have a problem with that – what we have a problem with is his definition of a hero which seems to be all about a slimmer body, better hair-cut, makeup, and clothes, slo-mo action scenes and dance sequences.
This movie demands that we waste hard-earned dhuddu with a strong dhillu!.