Cast: Thambi Ramiah, Varun, Madhan, Smile Selva, Gopal, Sathya, Super Singer Aajeedh, Madhumitha, Neha
When we enter Studio 5 to watch Vu, the theatre is deserted. There is a family of five, replete with two middle-aged women, who seemed to have decided to watch a movie on a whim, a bunch of young men on what appeared to be their weekend ritual and a few couples scattered here and there. The movie begins to roll; the introductions are made – the cast is entirely new, save for Thambi Ramiah; and the opening number, Aaha Idhu Cinema starts playing. A romantic yet tongue-in-cheek commentary on the film industry, the song somehow simultaneously reminds us of Madrasa Suthi Paaka Poren from May Maadham,Kadhai Kelu from MMKR and Naan Autokaran from Basha. And now would perhaps be a good time for a word of caution about Vu. Spoof alert.
Anyway, Aaha Idhu Cinema serves its purpose; and gets us hopeful.
Thambi Ramiah plays Ganesh, a 40-something man who finally gets an opportunity to turn director. A drunken night and a trip to the police station later, he finds himself assistants in the form four eccentric young men, who try to develop his plot with ideas of their own. And what we get is a weird concentric movie routine; where these ‘ideas’ play out in the form of scenes – a strange movie within a movie that doesn’t make sense either way. There is a sudden onslaught of new faces – unremarkable and unmemorable; crass jokes and gender clichés that make us cringe and even a bizarre romance between child-actors (meant to portray the characters’ younger selves) that is just badly done and which we heartily disapprove of. Add to that a sub-plot where Ganesh’s roommates try to sabotage his career (inspired by real-life, we suspect) and you have a good example of a script gone wrong.
The real problem though, are the actors who don’t emote. And compensate for it by being twice as loud. Neha, the lead actress, gets minimal screen time and is clearly intimidated by the camera. Thambi Ramiah goes overboard with his dialogues and makes for a tedious watch – though he was perhaps the only actor who seemed effortless with his delivery.
Humour verges on the wrong-side of slapstick and we find ourselves hopelessly clutching our tub of popcorn (with a generous dollop of butter, mind) for comfort. Weirdly, for a movie that is meant to be a spoof on the idiosyncrasies and clichés of the Tamil film industry and that of first-time directors in general, it offers several unintended comical moments. Yes, comic relief happens only when there’s no comedy intended. And, that gets us wondering. Perhaps you do need some movie-making experience after all, in order to attempt a spoof on movie-making, that is. Needless to say, Vu was made by a debutant director.
Overheard in the cinema hall:
Applause from the bunch of youth in front of us at regular intervals, in apparent appreciation of the ‘jokes’. Turns out, they are friends of one of the actors, Sathya, who was there as well. And it took us a whole minute to recognise him.
One of the audience: The attempt at sabotage (by the director’s friends) was well-intentioned after all!