Director: Santhosh P. Jayakumar
Cast: Santhosh P. Jayakumar, Daniel Annie Pope, Meenal
Nouveau art film Irandam Kuththu opens with a woman tossing her robe aside on the day she has picked to copulate with a man whose name – or face – isn’t important to the plot. Unfortunately, though, her robe lands on some burning candles. Everything in her room begins to go up in flames. While she manages to get out of the bed, and gasp, the man does nothing to save himself.
Actually, there was enough time for both of them to run away from the mansion. But this isn’t a film that works on such simple solutions. And the director-cum-hero Santhosh P Jayakumar doesn’t seem to care about connecting the threads. In the run-up to revealing the brain functioning inside the female lead’s (Pooja, portrayed by Karishma Kaul) head, there’s a scene where she asks a bunch of young adults, for a TV show, if they can name a word that starts with the letter “F” and ends with the letters “UCK”. Obviously, they all shout FUCK. Shoo, she meant FIRETRUCK.
Why would anybody in the world think of a firetruck? That joke would have probably worked had the line been employed by a comedic genius. But Kaul comes across as a person who isn’t even sure of what she says. You can find a similar strain of aloofness with the other women, too — Priya (Akrithi Singh) and the Ghost (Meenal Sahu). These women are as clueless as a sprig of fresh coriander in a plate of ravioli. The end credits say they have collectively made their debut with this motion picture. Please accept my sympathies, ladies.
Sex comedies need not always be badly written and made. An entire generation in the West – and the East – grew up on the American Pie series. Most of those movies were somewhat mediocre and the gags kept getting repetitive, but, at the end of the day, they were watchable. In South Indian cinema, the single-most focus of filmmakers, who are mostly men, remains in gathering all the puns together first and then writing stories around them.
When Veera (Jayakumar) and Vaasu (Daniel Annie Pope), along with their respective wives Pooja and Priya, go to Bangkok for their honeymoon, they are over the moon. Both the couples get married at the same time and at the same wedding hall, so their decision to vacation together doesn’t sound strange.
But their bedroom adventures, which are supposed to be hilarious, are thoroughly off-putting. They literally exchange homophobic and transphobic comments one after another. And when they finally run out of the rhyming words on sexual matters, they come back to square one and start all over again.
Whenever Goundamani made fun of people for their looks and behavioral traits, he at least made them sound funny. And, he never hesitated to mock politicians and actors – he punched up, down, and sideways. To this day, the punch line, “Sangu oodhura vayasula Sangeetha (For a woman who doesn’t have too many years to look forward to, you are named Sangeetha?),” gets laughs. That’s because of the way he spins his words. His remark is offensive and inappropriate, but you still end up laughing.
Here, with Jayakumar and three inexpressive women at the helm, there’s nothing to hold your attention. The scene in which Pooja and Priya catch their husbands licking ketchup off the poster of a muscled-man (the context is irrelevant), isn’t rib-tickling. It’s plain pathetic. Shankar’s Boys and Kasthuri Raja’s Thulluvadho Ilamai were also adult comedies that revolved around boys and their sexual fantasies. But those films didn’t depend on double entendres alone. There was good music and most of the young cast members showed some amount of interest in the proceedings.
The Eugene Levy-type character from American Pie is played by Ravi Maria in Irandam Kuththu. Maria (as Thambi Durai) doles out sexual advice, as if he’s a guru. He appears like a fish out of water, for he truly seems invested in his role. The eulogy he pens for his younger brother who fails to rise to the occasion is perhaps the only place where you can sense a strand of filmmaking.
Here on, movies will compete for attention with content that’s available for free. When there are thousands of sketch and sex comedies that have better narratives to weave, why would viewers go to the theatre, or even look for something on streaming sites, if movies are lazily made?
Also, since it is Rajinikanth’s birthday today, we will leave you with an erotic short story that the Superstar reads from Thambikku Entha Ooru. It is practically more entertaining than this entire film put together.