A boyfriend (Harish Kalyan), girlfriend (Ivana) and mother-in-law (Nadhiya) set out on a road trip to ease tensions. This moreish one-liner would get one to expect an unrestrained dysfunctional family drama where emotions run high. Or a super fresh situational comedy. Ramesh Thamilmani’s LGM (Let’s Get Married) tries to be a little bit of both and ends up being neither.
Gowtham and Meera’s two-year-long romance comes with a footnote. They are colleagues who begin enjoying each other’s company after a meet-cute at a watering hole. But Meera has an idea. “What if we hang out for two years before we see where this goes?” The two then enter what is basically a very sanitised version of a situationship. But Gowtham falls hard, and inches towards a grand proposal that ends with her saying yes. But we don’t get to see the organic eventuality of their romance. We also don’t get to see them thrive in their contrasting personalities (she’s Type A, and he is Type D). In fact, we’re made to consume the above piece of information that is their “story”, in just under a few minutes in a 150-minute film.
We get glimpses of what the film could’ve been in a couple of scenes. Leela is a single mom, whose worries and wonders revolve around her only son Gowtham. But the film doesn’t pause and show us ‘here’s why they are inseparable’. Instead of showing us why Gowtham is determined not to leave his mom’s side even post-marriage, we are told through empty words. “Enakku amma dhaan ellame,” he says at one point. We’re all a sucker for amma sentiment when done right, but LGM remains oblivious. Forget lived-in warmth, their bond is barely established, ergo tangible. A tiny flashback that comes ridiculously late in the film succinctly explains the power of shared grief in life. But such moments are hard to come by in LGM.
We realise that Gowtham holds his cards quite close to his chest early on in the film. He measures his words with everyone including best friend, girlfriend and his dear mother. Perhaps the effect of experiencing loss early in life? We will never know. But as a result, the jokes — when they aren’t filled with deeply unsettling, misogynistic undertones —- fall awfully flat on paper. Yogi Babu comes in and does his thing, making his regular bunch of appearances, transferring the exhaustion of his jokes onto us. The energy is also absurdly low for a film with such a riotous concept. So, when the film takes a head-on plunge into a mind-numbing madcap zone (we’re talking computer-generated tigers, horses drugged with spiked jalebis and an incredibly cringe Godman speaking gibberish), LGM doesn’t have any ounce of energy to even own the kind of arbitrary fluff it throws at us.
Nadhiya is such a calming presence even in the middle of LGM’s chaotic self-destructive streaks. “Do you like being alone,” Ivana asks her at one point. She shakes her head and admits that it’s the most difficult thing in the world, looking deep into the sea with a smile. Such poignance is so blatantly conspicuous in a film that doesn’t dwell on its characters. By the end of the film, I found myself singing the gooey 'Neeye Neeye' from M Kumaran Son of Mahalakshmi (2004), dreaming of the boss-mom film LGM could’ve been.