Director: Radha Mohan
Cast: Vaibhav, Vani Bhojan, Karunakaran, MS Bhaskar
Malaysia To Amnesia feels like a Crazy Mohan TV drama where dialogues do all the heavy lifting with the making being just about functional. But here, even the jokes are laboured. Here’s a sample of the kind of joke you’ll get every minute or so: a character says that he goes on a run from his house to ECR everyday without fail; the punchline: his house is in ECR. The film is a pile of such mokka jokes put together.
You can also look at Malaysia To Amnesia as a kind of tribute to Speed: characters chatter mindlessly throughout the film as if their heads would explode if they stopped; it didn’t matter what they said, they just had to keep saying something. Even an occasional good joke is ruined by four awful ones that follow in quick succession. The film’s plot and characters never sink in because it’s so anxious to be funny non-stop.
The central plot had great opportunity for humour: Arun (Vaibhav) cheats on his wife Suja (Vani Bhojan) and needs to get away with it. There’s also Mannar (MS Bhaskar), their uncle and an amateur sleuth, and Prabhu (Karunakaran), Arun’s best friend. You’d think humour in the film would be derived from Suja finding out about her husband’s affair or from Arun and Prabhu dealing ineptly with the crisis. Instead, most of the humour in the film has nothing to do with the characters’ situation: it’s just a compilation of the greatest hits of mokka comedy one after the other (another sample: a woman’s name, Mayakka, is rhymed with koyyakka).
The film tries to be too many things: an inane Rajesh-type comedy about two friends, an emotional story about the relationship between Arun and Suja, a comedy featuring Mannar, a drama around infidelity, and in the end, a laughable mystery. But there are a couple of scenes in the film featuring Arun and Suja that give us a glimpse into their emotional lives. These are in solid Radha Mohan territory. But even these parts are incredibly talky. If you take your eyes off the screen for a few minutes, you wouldn’t miss anything important. Malaysia To Amnesia is basically a radio drama formatted as a movie.
The twist near the end will only serve as an object lesson on how not to write twists. We are given no hints about a character only for him to suddenly change behaviour in a way that helps the film end. The ending, too, feels hurried and obvious (twist notwithstanding) but it also brings you relief from jokes like when a person with Alzheimer’s is called ‘algebra patient’.