Director: Chimbu Deven
Cast: Arulnithi, Bindu Madhavi, Bagavathi Perumal, Ashrita Shetty
Bagavathi Perumal’s Isakki is the faithful namam-sporting Tambrahm sidekick – reeking of of Anniyan’s Ambi – who also doubles up as the hero’s verbal punch bag. He wears smelly socks, is always seen in a staid shirt (with checks), balks at the sight of a gun and is horrified by a suggestive gesture. He also inadvertently slips into ‘Iyer baashai’ when dressed as Father Christmas (for which he is duly glared at), is introduced as actor Vijay’s “josiyar” when the need arises and smirked at when he cautions against a reckless adventure. He’s a milder and a more sober version of Senthil – from the comedy tracks of old – good-natured, bumbling and blundering; someone to harvest laughs. But then, he certainly cannot be a kalavani as the title proclaims. He’s not brawny enough, we are told repeatedly. Just as Tamizh – Arulnithi in father MK Tamil Arasu’s production – just cannot pass off as Goundamani, no matter how derogatory and disagreeable he tries to be.
And, he doesn’t wear a poonal, this…Isakki. Director Chimbu Deven just doesn’t seem interested in details.
Don’t get us wrong, though. Bagavathi Perumal does try: his exaggerated, over-the-top expressions quite suit the profile he plays. His eyes are always as huge as saucers; and that’s how he conveys almost everything – fright, horror, anxiety, shock…you get the drift. But that’s okay. Isakki is incapable of other emotions anyway, we know.
When OKMK ) doesn’t indulge in casteist stereo-typing, it plays with time; and mythology. There’s Shiva – in a skinny tiger print skirt and a toned-down version of the Mitchell Johnson moustache (dashing, isn’t he?) – scrolling through a new-age touch screen device. And this device holds a database of humans. A library of faces – thumbnail images all of them – which Shiva scrolls through at leisure; when he’s cooling his heels after a particularly exhausting tandava (this is purely a figment of our imagination). Narada strolls in. He has a query, about time and destiny. And Shiva humours him; he flicks a finger over the screen, chooses a face and illustrates how a minute can change one’s fortunes.
So once upon a time, in a land far, far away, Tamizh sits brooding. His girlfriend is being forcibly married to someone else, his mother lies in a hospital in need of surgery; and money. Naturally, he has to rescue both. Enter (a totally wasted) Nasser as gangster Hippie Lahari sporting a flashy white suit, a cottony wig, and gaudy jewellery – Tamizh finally knows what to do. With his cohorts – Malar (a pale and reticent Bindu Madhavi with cropped hair) and surprise, surprise, a reluctant Isakki, he sets off on his rescue mission. At 8.59 am.
And, à la Run Lola Run, there are three sequences of events that unfold – but instead of generic what-could-have-beens as in the former, we have gods and time influencing the three runs, which start a minute later, subsequently.
It’s when the third routine begins that an audible groan rises from the audience. And it’s thanks to Manobala as the mallu tea-shack owner and Naren as the cop with a penchant for “encounters” and Siruvar Malar – lovely, riotous instances of situational comedy, those – that we hang on. But the film does poke fun at itself towards the end, and we are slightly mollified. Ashrita Shetty as Isabella is resplendent in a white bridal gown. That’s pretty much what we can say about her; and Bindu Madhavi’s Malar offers nothing much to write home about either.
As for the rest of the cast…we won’t talk about them just yet.
It is rahu kalam.