(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.