ou know that dengue ad with Vivek? If someone expanded it to feature length and married it off to a Visu starrer from the 1980s, we’d get something resembling Pandiraj’s Pasanga 2. Why employ the tools of cinema if all you want to do is have people spout words of wisdom? Kuzhandhainga ketta vaarthai pesa maattaanga… kaetta vaarthai dhaan pesuvaanga. Or, Vaazhkaikulla doubt irukkalam, aana doubtukulla vaarthai irukkave koodadhu. Or, something about how government schools will improve only if teachers are forced to make their children study in them (instead of admitting them in private schools). Or, something about how parents should not live their dreams through their children. Or, something about how hospitals ask you to undergo expensive tests for no reason. Or, ulagileye uyarndha vagupparai thaayin karuvarai. Cue, scene where father reads chapters from the Bhagavad Gita to his unborn child. What, he couldn’t find an issue of Penthouse Letters?
Pasanga 2 bears no resemblance to Pasanga. One, the plot, the characters don’t carry over. Two, that was actually a movie. It had style, wit, charming performances. This one’s inept in every department of filmmaking. The writing is mind-bogglingly bad. The Taare Zameen Par-like plot centres on ADHD, but that diagnosis doesn’t happen until well into the second half – and the child diagnosed with the condition is shown to have been “cured” because he goes on stage and performs. But that would be a win if the kid was shy or introverted. This child shows no signs of holding back. He’s always bounding about. There’s no connection between problem and solution. And instead of focusing on ADHD, we get subplots about a mom who’s a bad cook, a dad who’s a kleptomaniac… The film plays like an act of sabotage, as though someone deliberately set out to screw up every single scene.
Suriya is as annoying as Aamir Khan was in Taare Zameen Par, smug and twinkly-eyed and over-filled with a sense of importance. He’s supposed to be playing a child psychiatrist. He seems to be playing the class clown. The scenes with his horribly idealised family are physically painful – I kept hoping a psychopath from a Quentin Tarantino movie would somehow sneak into the proceedings and off everyone in a gory bloodbath. And the staging! I couldn’t believe the way two neighbours meet for the first time, or the way a kid in boarding school looks at the sky and cries out for his mother. One of the many clueless aspects of this movie is its depiction of boarding school as some kind of prison. I wanted to tell Pandiraj: “You know what prison’s really like? Being trapped in a theatre screening Pasanga 2.”
- Taare Zameen Par = see here
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