I must confess I’ve been dreading this film’s release. Not because it’s a remake of the Malayalam hit Vellimoonga. (Most of our remakes miss out on whatever made the original film worth watching.) Not because of “comedy scenes” like the one in which a man gifts his girl an iPad, only to see her use it as a plate to shape dough for vadais. Not even because of the other “comedy scene” where the heroine embraces the hero and pulls back because something is poking her, and he whips out a… police siren (of course!) he had hidden in his clothes. My fear was that someone would ask me what film I’d be reviewing this week, and I’d have to find a way to not look terribly embarrassed while mumbling: “Muthina Kathirikka.” Really! Was this film made in Kodambakkam or Kothawal Chavadi?
Sundar C plays the titular vegetable – the name is a reference to this forty-something man who never married, and is still looking for a girl 25 years or younger. “Because if a woman isn’t married by then, something’s wrong with her.” The heroine (named Maya) is Poonam Bajwa, but it’s more interesting to note the actress who plays her mother: Kiran Rathod. This isn’t just about the resemblance – they both look vaguely vacuous in that blubbery, what-is-a-gym? way so beloved by Tamil and Telugu audiences. This is about the fact that Kiran Rathod, at 35, is in Kollywood what a muthina kathirikka would be in Kothawal Chavadi. (Sundar C is 48!) It’s pointless to crunch these numbers, I know, but it’s also fun – especially when you consider that the Sundar C character’s mother is played by Sumithra, who is just about 60. Given Tamil cinema’s tendency to keep referencing Ilayaraja, it’s a miracle they didn’t introduce her to the strains of Chinna thaayaval.
All of which is a way to get around talking about the film, directed by Venkat Raghavan. Frankly, there isn’t much to talk about. A few scattered laughs, maybe. The story is about Muthupandi (Sundar C), who wants to become a politician. He also wants to marry Maya, despite the fact that he went to school with Maya’s mother and had a crush on her. Watching this film after Enakku Innoru Per Irukku was an exercise in déjà vu. More cuckolded-husband comedy. More VTV Ganesh. More Yogi Babu. More appropriation from Ilayaraja. This time, a clash between brothers is underscored by music from Agni Natchatiram. And when a man says the married woman he is assumed to be having an affair with is like his sister, we hear Andha vaanatha pola… which doesn’t even make sense. But then very little in this film does.
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