Tamil Padam – Surfeit of Gags, Few LOL Moments

(by SI blog reader Racer44)

Well folks, a spoof movie (that is, a proper one, not a bits-and-pieces-spoof, most-parts-torture movie like Goa) finally makes its way to Tamil cinema.

To some, that ought to be reason enough to go watch this film. And I wouldn’t stand in their way.

Compared to the unwatchable tripe trotted out by so-called “commercial” directors, which are masqueraded as Tamil films, Tamil Padam is miles ahead.

But if you are looking for some serious spoof (pun intended) of the quality of, say, “airplane!”, I’m afraid you will be sorely disappointed.

One reason for this is that debutant director C.S.Amudhan has chosen to spoof not merely typical masala movies, but just about every single megahit Tamil movie that an average Tamil movie buff can recall fondly, ranging from Mouna Raagam to Kaakha Kaakha.

Surfeit of Gags But Few LOL Moments
The story itself is absurdly simple: an old lady (Paravai Muniamma), along with her new-born grandson, set forth from a village named “Cinemapatti” to Chennai to escape the wrath of the village head who, in a comically bizarre decision, decrees that all baby boys born in the village be killed with kalli paal (poisoned milk).

The old woman is also motivated by the newborn’s promise to make a name for himself as a big hero if she spares his life. The events that follow upon their arrival in Chennai and whether the promise is made good form the rest of the story.

The film begins well, with a few neatly aimed potshots at memorable characters like Sarathkumar from “Nattamai“, and Simbhu from “Kuthu“.

Beginning from the scene where the hero, as a small boy, pedals furiously on a locked bicycle and gets transformed into a twenty-something young man,till the ones spoofing such old classics as Baasha, Thalapathi and Nayagan and a few recent duds like “Kanthaswamy“, the film runs along pretty smoothly. The highlight of this segment is the “Pacha Manjal” song which superbly parodies the concept of “build-up” songs.

Alas, the rest of this film is not so smooth.

The director seems to have tried his hand at too many things, hoping something will stick.

Some scenes do stick, like the library scenes poking fun at Mouna Raagam and the scene where Shiva traps “Delhi” Ganesh in Apoorva Sagodharargal style, but several others fail to evoke laughter, even though they have been well-conceived. For example, the kuttichuvar scene from “boys” does not vary hugely from the original movie and hence offers only a few laughs as we see a bunch of old men dutifully enact the roles that Nakul, Bharath and Siddharth played in that movie.

It is as if director Amudhan thought of a series of visual cues from various hit movies and contented himself with piecing them together within the framework of this flimsy story.

Other Sore Points
The neglect of audio cues (background scores and such from spoofed movies) is also a major sore point.

The effectiveness of such cues was amply evident in movies like Goa but, sorry to say, it has been terribly underutilized in this film.

Dialogues, by K.Chandru, sparkle in patches, like the telephone conversations involving Shiva and the chief minister, the PM, and Obama, in that order.

There are plenty of side-jokes in the film. Many will get a laugh or two, some only a grin.

Such scenes include the ones where the Kalli Paal is shown to be commercially manufactured, the one where Shiva escapes a bunch of thugs just sticking a black patch to his face, and how all the people Shiva meets in his village have the latest gadgets, be it iPod or Apple Macbooks.

Cinematography, by Nirav Shah, is commendable. Scenes as varied as the murder scene inspired from “Anniyan” shot in low light to the hospital scenes from Thalapathi retain their authenticity.

On the acting front, Shiva carries off his role with panache. The same cannot be said of his co-star Disha Pandey. This pretty babe displays a shocking inability to act and wears an annoying simper whenever she appears on screen.

Venniradi Moorthy, Manobala and M.S.Bhaskar are adequate, but don’t bedazzle the hell out of us.

Paravai Muniamma has a good style of dialog delivery. Only wish she could come up with expressions to match those dialogs.

Overall, Tamil Padam plays out like several back-to-back episodes of Lollu Sabha (the hit parody show from Vijay TV for all you schmucks who don’t know) put together. With better conceived scenes, but less humorous dialogs.

I would still rate it good enough to warrant one watch, but surely not great enough to make you wish for a second one.

20 Responses to "Tamil Padam – Surfeit of Gags, Few LOL Moments"

  1. guruprasad.s   February 3, 2010 at 12:08 pm

    If my comment doesnt go to trash, then please answer the following:

    What does Tamil Padam mean ?
    Something like Footsteps/milestones/chapters in Tamil history ?

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    Tamil Padam is Tamil Movies (in a generic sense).

    (This one too went into the spam folder. We think it may have something to do with your IP. Perhaps, someone’s using it for spamming.)

  2. racer44   February 4, 2010 at 12:55 am

    Those who are wondering about the other songs: “Oh Maha zeeya” is beautiful and ludicrous at the same time, “Oru sooravali” ridicules songs like “Singam ondru purappatadhe” from Padaiyappa where the hero is shown to go from rags to riches during the course of a single song and has some light-hearted lines.

    The other song “Kuthu Vilakku” is pathetic, in that it starts off as a parody of item numbers, but soon becomes indistinguishable from actual ones. The theme music is hum-worthy.

    The music director Kannan has mostly delivered the goods.

  3. fugitive143   February 4, 2010 at 10:55 pm

    where did u watch the movie?

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    The review was done by SI blog reader Racer 44, who watched it in India.

    We haven’t seen the movie because it has yet to make it to the NJ/NY/VA theatres.

    So if you have any questions/comments on the movie, Racer44 is the person to address them to.

    • fugitive143   February 4, 2010 at 11:10 pm

      oh ok…sorry…didnt read that as it was right below the google ads

      • pauldeleo   February 5, 2010 at 2:16 am

        even i missed that out Please edit the text to be BOLD)..i was wondering how could SI give such a decent review for this movie..

        BTW..racer44 has mentioned all that evoked laughter in the movie..so you could imagine how the rest of the movie would be.. i certainly did not like the second half as you get used to the standard of the jokes and its quite ‘mokkai’ istic..which is what made me walk out of the hall…

        @SI: please wait for the DVD to come…it is not worth a drive.

        SearchIndia.com Responds:

        1. You write: i was wondering how could SI give such a decent review for this movie..

        Overall, even Racer44 doesn’t seem to be awed by the film.

        In any case, it’s not releasing in our area this week.

        2. Per your request, we’ve increased the font size. So there can be no confusion now as to the author of the review.

        • racer44   February 5, 2010 at 9:05 am

          @pauldeleo
          I found the film a mixed bag.

          Some spoofs were really good and even subtle, (I don’t want to mention any more in case I spoil the fun for all prospective viewers), and certain scenes were more in the nature of paying homage to Tamil cinema’s icons rather than trying to spoof them while certain others merely tested our patience.

          @SI
          “Racer44 doesn’t seem to be awed by the film”

          I wasn’t. It’s not an outstanding film.

          But hey, for a first attempt, and that too, at previously untrodden territory, the director has done a creditable job. I would recommend you watch it.

          SearchIndia.com Responds:

          For some reason, Tamil Padam is not releasing in the NJ/NY/VA area this weekend. God knows why.

          The nearest theater is some 280 miles (450KM) away. Not worth it.

          Plus a severe snow storm is forecast to hit the region this weekend.

          • trishna147   February 5, 2010 at 12:21 pm

            are you not gonna bother driving to watch your ultimate star’s ‘asal’??

            i heard its got no story, and that the director only tried to make ajith look good. So my earlier guess was quite right…it IS like a Billa-2.

            SearchIndia.com Responds:

            We went there but the 3PM and 6PM shows were canceled.

            Now, it’s unlikely we’ll go again because we have a severe snowstorm coming in the mid-Atlantic region (more than two-feet of snow expected).

            Our Governor has declared emergency in our state and restricted driving on roads from 10PM ET tonight.

            So, it’s unlikely we’ll watch Asal.

            Seriously, after the Aegan nonsense does anyone give a flying f*ck for Ajith?

  4. 1012900   February 5, 2010 at 7:44 am

    This is exactly what my friends told me, that this plays out as several back to back episodes of Lollu Sabha πŸ™‚

    I’m gonna watch this movie next weekend πŸ™‚

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    Caveat: some readers like Pauldeleo were not impressed and say they walked out.

    BTW, do Indian really walk out of even bad films. Bet they’ll try to get at least some bang for their ticket-buck by sitting in the AC hall, peeing twice or thrice et al. πŸ˜‰

  5. racer44   February 5, 2010 at 9:57 am

    My payment has been reversed[:(]. Look what PayPal had to say:

    “Your payment of 17 has been sent back to the sender of the payment. We reversed this payment because we have stopped allowing personal payments to be sent to or from India.”

    Is there any other way you can pay me online? with or without PayPal?

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    We also received a notification from PayPal about the reversal. There seems to be a glitch/issue unique to money sent to India.

    In any case, we’ve resent the money via a slightly different method using a new procedure recommended by PayPal.

    You should have got the money by this time.

  6. racer44   February 6, 2010 at 2:43 am

    Thank you. I received the money.

    What exactly was the difference this time around? And what makes you think PayPal won’t reverse this transaction too?

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    You write: What exactly was the difference this time around?

    Read this piece from TechCrunch.

    A lot of Indian people/businesses are impacted. Our guess is that it should be resolved soon.

    Just in case you are not aware, PayPal is a subsidiary of eBay. What has happened is a black eye for them on the customer service front.

    Worse case scenario, since you are not living on the Moon getting the money across to you (should there be a problem with the second payment too) is hardly an insurmountable problem.

  7. racer44   February 6, 2010 at 2:56 am

    @SI: “So, it’s unlikely we’ll watch Asal.”

    I sense another opportunity to make some useful cash. So how about delegating this one also to me? But mind you, I can post you a review only on wednesday night(which would be wednesday morning where you live).

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    You write: I sense another opportunity to make some useful cash. So how about delegating this one also to me?

    Since we’re in the midst of a severe snow-storm with heavy winds, it’s very difficult for us to venture out. BTW, the New York Times is describing it as a Potentially Epic Snowstorm.

    If you can watch the film on Saturday evening/night (Indian Time) and send it to us by Sunday morning (9AM Eastern Time), you are welcome to do the review.

    The reason we want it early is to catch possible reader interest/excitement in the new film. By Wednesday, reader interest would have flagged considerably.

    If you agree to send us your original review by Sunday morning 9 AM Eastern Time (you have a little over 29 hours since it’s 3:44AM Eastern Time now), we’d be happy to send you $17 immediately.

  8. racer44   February 6, 2010 at 4:24 am

    @SI: “if you can watch it on Saturday evening/night (Indian Time) and send it to us by Sunday morning (9AM Eastern Time).”
    That’s well-nigh impossible. I could try tomorrow (Sunday) but then again it’s not a sure thing, what with many cinema halls (single screens too) having shifted over to this new-fangled concept of advance booking!!! Times are tough for the average-lazy-movie-goer.

    Tell you what, I’ll post a comment tomorrow at 8:00 pm( that would be around 9:30 AM sunday at your place) to inform you if I have seen the film. Then you can pay me and I’ll mail you the review. So how about it?

    @SI: “The reason we want it early is to catch possible reader interest/excitement in the new film. By Wednesday, reader interest would have flagged considerably.”

    Now that’s one needless worry. Tamil audiences have wisened up over the years. They no longer rush in droves to see Ajith films. As you yourself put it, who gives a flying f*** about an Ajith film these days, unless it were reviewers like yourself and cash-strapped fellows like me?

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    You write above: Tell you what, I’ll post a comment tomorrow at 8:00 pm( that would be around 9:30 AM sunday at your place) to inform you if I have seen the film. Then you can pay me and I’ll mail you the review. So how about it?

    Please let us know by what time we would get the review before we can respond definitively.

    Didn’t realize movie-going was a complex advance-booking affair in India these days.

  9. racer44   February 6, 2010 at 5:12 am

    “Please let us know by what time we would get the review before we can respond definitively.”

    If I see the film tomorrow (and that is a big if), I’ll finish my review and inform you by 9:30 AM Sunday(New Jersey time), after which you can pay me and I’ll immediately mail you 2 copies of the review in plain text, just like last time.

    If I don’t see it tomorrow, I’ll still update you on the status quo before 9:30 AM. So no need to send any money now.

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    Sounds reasonable.

    Please go ahead. Thanks.

  10. 1012900   February 7, 2010 at 1:30 am

    Watched Tamil Padam yesterday.

    9 of us went for the 6:30 pm show and I was probably the only person sitting with a straight face for the most part while the rest were breaking into peals of laughter.

    This may be due to the fact that I wasn’t aware of most of the movies that have been spoofed, except for Anniyan,Kanthaswamy, Aboorva Sagodharargal among few.

    Shiva’s performance has to be appreciated. He has done well.

    As Racer44 said, Pacha Manja song is the highlight πŸ™‚ ..

    Btw SI, Asal trailer looks interesting.

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    You write: Asal trailer looks interesting.

    The severe snow-storm in the NJ/VA/MD/DE/PA area must have wrecked the business of Asal.

  11. racer44   February 7, 2010 at 9:21 am

    My review is ready. You can pay me now.

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    Done. Please check your e-mail.

  12. racer44   February 7, 2010 at 9:58 am

    Got my review?

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    Yes, thanks.

    Reading it now.

  13. shadowfax_arbit   February 8, 2010 at 4:22 am

    Saw the movie yesterday.

    Liked first half a lot. Second half was boring… but still worth a watch. ‘Pacha Manjal’ and ‘O Maha Zeeya’ songs are the highlights… I couldn’t stop laughing throughout ‘O Maha Zeeya’. What an attempt… I still can’t believe they made that whole song by just picking words. For me the LOL moments were mole disguise, pedalling growth, songs and Kandasamy…

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    You write: Saw the movie yesterday.

    You saw this movie yesterday?

    Tamil makkal (people) the world over have been seduced into a state of orgasmic frenzy at the mere sight of Thala walking hither and thither in Asal and you eschew that orgasmic delerium for Tamil Padam.

    What’s come over you!

    • shadowfax_arbit   February 8, 2010 at 8:59 am

      Orgasm?? I only go into state of deep ‘angasm’ if I look at something like this

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7whIpbOdVjA

      Last I heard Asal is full of this with almost all dialogues with the word Thala. Thats enough to make me puke for 3 hrs.

      The last movie of his, I saw in theatre was ‘Amarkalam’ – a decent one, back in 1999. Since then he has been consistently churning out sh*t.

      SearchIndia.com Responds:

      Everywhere else they have actors, in Tamil movies we have walkers. πŸ˜‰

      When we said Billa was crap, a firestorm of protest erupted.

  14. 1012900   February 16, 2010 at 9:43 am

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pn_1PIVmYog

    O maha zeeya from Tamil padam.

    Hilarious lyrics πŸ˜›

    The whole theatre burst into laughter during the song!

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    Funny.

    Maybe, they should have gone a little over the top. Just a wee bit. Or would that have spoiled it?

    Must have been funnier in the context of the movie.

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