Cast: KS Ravikumar, Tharshan Thiyagarajah, Losliya Mariyanesan, Yogi Babu
Director: Sabari & Saravanan
There’s no logic to some of the changes the directors of Koogle Kuttappa have chosen to make to its original version. By transplanting it from north Kerala to south Tamil Nadu, the makers have also taken the liberty to water down what was essentially a complex film that may be read as a comment on so many issues plaguing two different generations. For one, the original felt like a statement on brain drain and the isolation parents feel once their children move abroad. Use the robot as a stand-in for any kind of social media like WhatsApp or Facebook and you can see a lot of your own parents in the way the father in Android Kunjappan Ver 5.25 (played by Suraj Venjaramoodu) devotes himself to the robot like their generation took to cell phones after a stage of initial resistance.
In Koogle Kuttappa, though, the treatment is kept at a basic level without the nuances that made the original oddly funny. The pitch too is a lot louder with the comedic bits turned several notches higher as though the makers do not trust their audience. So they decide to give Yogi Babu yet another role where he gets body-shamed, insulted and abused for cheap laughter. Even a small subplot from the original is stretched too far in the form of a recurring joke. Right at the outset, a character becomes the butt of all jokes when his mental health issue confuses him into thinking that the robot is his father. This is at max a two-minute joke, that too a lazy one. But this is stretched so far and wide that even strong scenes between Subramani (KS Ravikumar) and Kuttappa get diluted in the process.
What’s equally confounding is the way the film has repeated the same flaws of the original. We found the original to be drained of any life or energy the second the action shifts to cold, lifeless Russia. The love story between the son and his Japanese girlfriend too pulled us away from the dramedy back at home with its awkwardness. But in this, the insipid love angle between the son and his Eelam Tamil girlfriend appears so flat and pointless that you’re only focusing on how bad the green screens are at converting an office in ECR/OMR into downtown Germany.
Barring a few nice moments between KS Ravikumar and the robot, there’s nothing to gain from this even if you haven’t seen the original. The accents come and go as they please and the setting hardly adds value to this version. Add to this the flat performances of the other actors (Tharun looks almost exactly like Atharva) and there’s not much to say about a beta version of a film that didn’t require a remake. In other words, the emotions are so flat that it feels like it was made by robots, for robots.