Sunday, April 15, 2012

A placebo entertainer

Published in City Express, the daily supplement of The New Indian Express, Bangalore on April 16, 2012

A rehash of the director’s earlier hits, Oru kal ou kannadi bears no novelty and entertains, albeit partly

And we thought recycling allegorically referred to only leftover-dependant lazy cooks or music composers with little care for copyright issues. Joining the bandwagon is director Rajesh with Oru kal oru kannadi (a stone, a looking glass), which reprises – and ends in a reprisal of – his earlier hits Siva Manasula Sakthi and Boss Engira Baskaran. 

An etymology analysis would reveal that the kal and kannadi of the movie’s title – probably inspired by a song of the same name from Siva Manasula Sakthi – refer to the sexes from Mars and Venus respectively; one needs no nuclear scientist to infer that this is a love caper.

OKOK opens to Saravana (Udhayanidhi Stalin, grandson of DMK patriarch M Karunanidhi) and his friend Partha (Santhanam) setting out to Pondicherry to kidnap a woman from a marriage hall. In a flashback we are led through a love plot between Saravana and Meera (Hansika Motwani). Its love at first sight for Saravana following his serendipitous encounter with her at a traffic junction; he falls for her fair-skinned and plump looks – yes, you read it right (can’t we have a course correction on notions of beauty?).

From then on, it’s all about Saravana attempting to woo her, punctuated by comic interludes with his friend Partha (Santhanam), who in addition to helping Saravana has a love to pursue of his own.

One feels that the lead pair could have done with a good dose of chemistry. Sequences such as the relation between Saravana and his mother and Saravana and Partha have many parallels with the director’s earlier ventures. Santhanam – donning the role of almost a second hero, a la Koundamani – brings the roof down with his constant one-liners. He virtually shoulders the movie and makes it for easy viewing.

What could have been one of OKOK’s pluses, and was in the director’s earlier ventures, becomes an irritant thanks to incessant repetition. Dialogues that tend to get serious end in hilarity – not wrong, as long as it is not overdone to the extent of the viewer predicting its outcome a mile before.

The songs save for Venam machan... and Kaadhal oru butterfly... lack freshness and are eerily reminiscent of Harris Jayaraj’s earlier hits. Was he woken up in the dead of the night and asked to compose them?

by Rajagopalan Venkataraman