Director: Radha Mohan
Cast: Arulnithi, Vivekh, Tanya, M S Bhaskar, Thalaivasal Vijay
Here’s an example of what passes for comedy in a Radha Mohan movie. Sandhya (the spirited Tanya Ravichandran) pulls a male friend close for a selfie. He preens happily… until she tells him the picture is her response to a friend who went to Bangkok and clicked herself with a chimp. Here’s an example of what passes for tragedy in a Radha Mohan movie. Louis (M. S. Bhaskar) tells a sad story — his life’s story — to a man he’s just met, to the accompaniment of sad music that alerts us that this isn’t a Radha Mohan Comedy Scene™ but a Radha Mohan Tragedy Scene™. Alternate these emotions for a couple of hours and you get Brindhaavanam. The tag line could be “If you liked Mozhi…”
As in that film, we get a differently abled protagonist: Kannan (Arulnithi), a hairdresser, is deaf-mute. The other film that kept coming to mind is Martin Scorsese’s The King of Comedy. Here too, we have a drama woven around a fan and his idol, Vivekh (playing himself). But Brindhaavanam is far more benign. It isn’t out to skewer celebrity culture. It just wants to make us laugh, cry… Vivekh has his moments, riffing on his famous comedy tracks. A gag in which he affects a Malayali accent and puns on James Cameron’s Avatar is a hoot, though I laughed harder at the scene where he sits in front of a piano and launches solemnly into Lara’s Theme from Doctor Zhivago. The most mystifying film nod, though, has to be the one to Blue Velvet, which finds a place in an exchange about a porn film.
So the story is about Kannan and Vivekh… well, laughing and crying. Sad things happen to them. Happy things happen to them. Everything’s at the level of a well-intentioned amateur play. The actors look like graduates from the Dumb Charades School of Performance. There’s no flavour in the dialogue (and there’s a lot of dialogue) — whenever exposition is needed, we get an information dump. The gun-to-the-temple melodrama makes you look back fondly at Thozha, which danced around a similar opposites-meet premise but — for all its flaws — with far more flair. But is there any point complaining? At least, the director is consistent. You walk into a Radha Mohan movie and you get a Radha Mohan movie™
Watch the teaser of Brindhaavanam here: