From the start, Idhu Namma Aalu is familiar. Simbu is the kind of man who falls in love the moment he sets eyes on a woman, and then says things like, ‘Paatha odane oru full adicha madiri iruku da’ (Just looking at her gets me as high as drinking an entire bottle of liquor). He has a trusty sidekick (Soori, this time) who is responsible for dishing out jokes and suitable replies. There is more than one woman in Simbu’s life. We’re certain there’s going to be a Gaana Bala ‘TASMAC song’ with Simbu and Soori dancing to lyrics about how women ruin men’s lives and how love is a waste of time; how friendship and ‘Sarakku’ are the best companions in life. But thankfully, that doesn’t happen. There is one drinking scene, in which a friend has swindled another, but the friends are Simbu and Nayanthara’s fathers.
Pandiraj is known for this: charming characters, the little pleasures of life, and over-the-top dialogues. And yet, they make the audience smile His films fall in the category, of small films with a big heart. Sadly, Idhu Namma Aalu does not.
Simbu, in his most ‘decent’ avatar since Vinnaithaandi Varuvaaya, plays an IT employee named Shiva, who is best friends with his father. His ‘buddy’ then finds a match for him, Myla (Nayanthara). Simbu is ‘drunk with love’ from the moment he sees her. But, his ex-girlfriend Priya (Andrea) is still around. She wants to give their relationship a second chance. We think this might be the crux of the plot, but it’s easily resolved. Then comes another conflict. Myla is keen to know everything about Shiva’s past. Her excessive curiosity leads to him unwittingly setting a detective to spy on her, causing a tiff between them. But again, this is resolved easily, and the story continues. The final conflict is the silliest of all, but makes the pair take extreme measures. The audience is left wondering about quickly the situation escalated.
In Idhu Namma Aalu, Simbu is at his most-Simbu and at his most not-Simbu self. There are no punch dialogues, no unbelievable stunts. Not even the over-the-top dance sequences. However, it looks as if the recent controversies have taken a toll on him. In one song, we see a visibly tired Simbu huffing and puffing through his dance movements. The film has been shot over two and a half years, and the changes in Simbu’s appearance and weight are apparent.
On top of that, being a love story, there are several references to Simbu’s own past (and perhaps present). There’s also Nayanthara, whom the actor dated a few years ago. Deliberately or not, many of the film’s dialogues sound like innuendo-filled headlines from trashy tabloids. The audience can’t help but wonder which real life actor is actually being referenced. In one scene (forced into the script as if written just for this dialogue), Simbu looks towards the camera and says “Ellaarum en love-eh vechu comedy pannreenga” (Everyone is having fun mocking my love story). There’s also a reference to the ‘Loosu Penne’ song.
All this brings us, the audience, out of the fictional world of film, and into reality. We constantly see Simbu and Nayanthara, not Shiva and Myla. The unfortunate truth is that Idhu Namma Aalu is about its stars, not its story.
Pandiraj and Suseenthiran are perhaps the only filmmakers who use Soori in moderation, and we’re thankful to them.
A large chunk of the second half meanders. In several sequences, the betrothed pair are on the phone with each other, talking through the night about everything under the sun. In most films, such scenes would be montages, with cheery music in the background. They wouldn’t last more than 30 seconds. Here though, we listen to the couple calling each other Chellam, Ammu, Kuttima so many times that even die-hard romantics in the audience start to question their own real life conversations with their partners. Endless annoying minutes of meaningless dialogues and lovey-dovey texts later, the only relief is still Soori’s comic responses.
When the film was first announced, Idhu Namma Aalu caused quite a flutter. Two actors in a highly publicised relationship and breakup, Simbu and Nayanthara, would be on screen together. Sure, the film lost its steam somewhere in between, with all the delays. However, it seems as if Pandiraj was so caught up in that hype, that he forgot to weave an actual story around the two characters. The film even ends with a blooper where Pandiraj says ‘Oru vazhiya ungala vechu padam eduthu mudichuten’ (Somehow, I’m done making a film with the two of you).
Every silly conflict and resolution feels aimlessly scattered in the story, as if the director didn’t know what else to do with these characters. If more time had been spent on Shiva and Myla instead of Simbu and Nayanthara, we might have heard people saying ‘Wow’ instead of ‘Ayyo’, on their way out of the theatre.
The Idhu Namma Aalu 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.