After a series of action-dramas featuring rowdies, we seem to be in for comedies featuring rowdies, which tweak our cinema’s obsession with anti-heroes. We recently saw Naanum Rowdy Dhaan. Now we have director Sam Anton’s Enakku Innoru Per Irukku. The film revolves around the power games in Royapuram, where the godfather is called “Naina.” GV Prakash Kumar (sporting a beard that seems to weigh almost as much as he does) plays Johnny, a young man with a phobia that makes him freeze at the sight of blood – not just the blood dripping from a sickle that’s just carved up a man, but also the blood on his mother’s (Nirosha) finger after a cut while slicing vegetables. The film, throughout, invites us to snicker while we ponder this question: Can you see this man as a rowdy, let alone a candidate for the godfather, lording over all the rowdies in Royapuram?
As such, we’re not meant to care about the plot. Otherwise we’d start asking questions. Why does Johnny, at first, decide to become a priest, of all things? (Though one must admit that becoming a Father is a step up for GV Prakash Kumar. In his earlier film, Trisha Illana Nayanthara, he was only interested in the sequence of events that would make him a… father.) And just like that, upon setting eyes on Hema (Anandhi), he gives up the idea? And who is Husain Bhai? We get a tense sequence where this man is murdered, and it was news to me that someone named Husain Bhai existed. So, along with plot, we’re not meant to care about characters either. Or tone. We’re in a comedy, and yet we get the intense scene of a man hacked to death. At least this man we knew about. He was there in a couple of early scenes, though he vanishes for a long stretch and reappears only to die.
But the audience around me – mostly very young people who made me think, “Shouldn’t you be getting ragged in your first day at college?” – didn’t seem to care. They roared at the masturbation jokes. And when Johnny called married women “post-paid” and sighed in relief that Hema was “pre-paid.” (I’m grateful they didn’t go further with, say, a “top up” joke.) GV Prakash Kumar’s reuse of his “virgin pasanga” line from Trisha Illana Nayanthara brought the roof down. And there were claps at this poignantly feminist juncture. Before Hema, Johnny was seeing this girl who sweet-talked him into buying her an iPhone, a Scooty. One day, she hands him a wedding invitation and calls him anna. On the day of her wedding, a friend asks the heartbroken Johnny why the girl dumped him. Johnny replies, “Adhaan machan ponnunga.” Then he laughs a laugh that suggests life will go on as long he has his male friends. Why? Because, “Adhaan machan pasanga.” If these films are anything to go by, the mind of the average Tamilian youngster could be the setting for The Conjuring 3.
But many gags do work. I’m always partial to jokes about cuckolded husbands. And the director has clever ideas. He positions the search for the new godfather as a reality game show: Ungalil Yaar Adutha Naina? (Yogi Babu, as the emcee, is a riot. Karunas and VTV Ganesh are also in good form.) And he punctures the pompousness of a big fight scene by labelling the factions “Kodambakkam Knight Riders” and “Vyasarpadi Challengers.” But this looniness comes and goes. And for a comedy targeted at today’s “youth,” there’s far too much nostalgia. I get the posters of Kaththi and Veeram – you can make a film without a camera, even, but you cannot get by without nods to Vijay and Ajith. But what explains the hat-tips to MGR (Kannai nambaathey), Chandrababu (Kungumapoove) and Ilayaraja? When Johnny is dumped, we get the background score from Aboorva Sagotharargal. When a patriarch is assumed dead, we get a snatch of Thevar Magan’s Vaanam thottu pona. Someone should tell Shruti Haasan that her generation still seems to prefer Kamal Haasan.
- Enakku Innoru Per Irukku= I have another name
- Naanum Rowdy Dhaan = see here
- Ungalil Yaar Adutha Naina? =Who Wants To Be The Next Naina?
- anna = older brother
- “Adhaan machan ponnunga.” = Girls are like that only.
- “Adhaan machan pasanga.” = Guys are like that only.
- Kaththi = see here
- Veeram = see here
- Trisha Illana Nayanthara = see here
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