Cast: Santhanam, Rajendran, Shritha Sivadas
Santhanam’s Dhilluku Dhuddu 2 is a film that takes the phrase ‘below the belt’ far too seriously and that’s not just because of the 24-insults-per-second format the film follows. It has a particularly strange obsession with men’s crotches and thereabouts. At first, a cricket ball is hurled at an effeminate man’s ‘central region’ and for a moment, the ball goes missing. Later, one of those toy monkeys, the kind that plays the drums, is shown drumming its way into a man’s veshti. And when Mottai Rajendran goes outdoors at night to relieve himself, a ghost’s arm appears from below only to lend him a “helping hand”. When the makers claimed that this film would cater to all “centres”, this is not what I had in mind.
The film’s other obsession is to check every box in the long list of Malayali clichés. I love how Malayali characters in Tamil films are invariably shown sporting sandalwood pottu on their foreheads, much like how south Indian characters need vibhuti to prove their authenticity in a Hindi film. Other Mallu clichés like banana chips, Premam and of course ‘Jimmiki Kammal’ are thrown around apart from black magic, which is the main theme of the film.
But it takes a hell of a long time to even get there. A lot of time is spent developing Viji’s (Santhanam) continuous run-ins with a local political party, but we soon realise that it’s only meant for the mandatory fight scenes. It’s much the same with the insipid love angle as well. It does nothing other than gift the up-and-coming star (who gets compared to “God” in his intro!) a love angle and a reason to move to Kerala. Like the first part, the film only matters once we’ve done away with the above-mentioned portions and the horror movie flashback. So when we finally move into the haunted house, we’re expecting a few big laughs. But here, we get just two, one of which I recall is a play on a very similar one involving spooky doors from the first film. A few jump-scares, a ‘cliffhanger’, and a lot of screaming later and we realise the 2 in the title is not because it’s the sequel. It’s the number of times the film makes you laugh.