A time machine is the centerpiece of Dikkiloona, and it’s something that all of us have wished for. We could go back in time and fix things we wish we had done differently, whether it’s to do with family, relationships or work. This is a great concept and several great films have been made about this, especially in Hollywood. But it seems so wrong for a Santhanam movie because of what he is right now. Comedians are also a bit like heroines, because you see them a lot for a period before which the industry phases them out. At one point, Santhanam was a flourishing comedian. Then, he decided that he couldn’t be just a sidekick and became a leading man, but without losing that comedian persona.
This is very tricky because when you’re a leading man and also trying to preserve the comic persona with jokes that rhyme, say, “foreign” and “urine”, it makes for a weird combination. A movie that deserves a certain treatment ends up becoming a Santhanam movie that’s neither here nor there. So, you’re left with a film that doesn’t use the time machine concept well nor is it a great vehicle for a leading man.
The story is about Mani (Santhanam) who has to choose between two women. He decides who is right for him by going back and forth in time. The problem with the writing is that the film is almost entirely about the man and very little about the two women. We don’t get an idea why they are each important in their own ways. They are painted with such broad strokes in ridiculous ways that you really wonder if they’re worth pursuing or if they’re just the usual loosu ponnus.
Meghna (Shirin Kanchwala) is a modern, free-thinking woman. This is established by her dressing up like she’s going to the disco when Santhanam wants to take her to the temple. When questioned, she says that her freedom is very important to her and that no one can control her. It’s so hard to take her seriously.
You might ask why take a film like Dikkiloona seriously at all? But then, it should at least deliver on the comedy front or have a fast-paced story (like Back To The Future, one of the great time machine films). But here, the story is overlong and filled with a prison break, episodes with inmates in a mental asylum, a cameo by Harbhajan Singh — and with all these things you don’t care who Santhanam ends up with. You’re not emotionally connected to anything at all.
Again, I wish that this love story had been made by a serious director with a serious actor. I would have loved to see a romantic triangle combined with a time machine in a serious way. But that doesn’t happen here, and I now ended up wishing that somebody had a time machine so they could fix this awful script. At least then, it would have been a half-way decent movie.