Cast: Bhagyashree Mote, Krishna Murali Posani, Nikki Tamboli, Adith Arun, Hemanth
Director: Santhosh P. Jayakumar
Last year, when the Tamil sex comedy Iruttu Araiyil Murattu Kuththu released, millennials on social media went crazy. While some people argued for such films to have a controversy-free run at the cinemas, others were under the impression that sex comedies were the sole reason for our nation not achieving “achhe din”. Now that the movie has been remade into Telugu under the title Chikati Gadilo Chithakotudu, I don’t see anybody raising slogans for, or against, the makers.
Does it mean that the Telugu film industry is far ahead of its counterparts? No, no, no, absolutely not! I’d simply put the blame on the lack of buzz around this movie for not inviting any trouble. That said, filmmakers should be allowed to voice their opinions via their beloved medium without getting attacked by political parties, or culture-warriors as the recently released Tamil movie 90ML witnessed.
Let me get back to Chikati Gadilo Chithakotudu. The Telugu version is a faithful remake, in the sense that it still has the homophobic elements along with visual representation that passes for adult-friendly humour, like the bananas getting bigger to depict the state of horniness of its male characters. But even with these things, somehow, the writing doesn’t spray the extravagant laughing gas at us. Chandu (Adith Arun) and Shiva (Hemanth) are childhood friends who go on a trip to Bangkok along with Pooja (Nikki Tamboli) and Kavya (Bhagyashree Mote), respectively. Since the movie is narrated through the eyes of the men, writer-director Santhosh P. Jayakumar – also, the director of the Tamil original – never lets go of the male gaze.
While the first half is mostly centered on the two couples, a host of comedians from Telugu cinema (Raghu Babu, Satyam Rajesh, Thagubothu Ramesh, and Posani Krishna Murali) are brought in later to add some masala to the narrative. The concept of the haunted house, for a long time, has permitted young directors and producers, who are strapped for cash, to go bonkers within the boundaries of the genre. And that’s how most of the small-budget horror comedies are made in India. But Santhosh has taken a few jumps ahead to land on the doors of a horror comedy that involves a great deal of sex talk.
There’s a ghost in Chikati Gadilo Chithakotudu who says she’ll sleep only with a virgin man, for she died before losing her virginity. Anybody who’s ever watched a sex comedy will know where this movie is headed toward. But that’s the least of its problems and without anything funny, or remotely drool-worthy adult-entertainment, I’m not sure how Iruttu Araiyil Murattu Kuththu became a phenomenon to reckon with.
Adith Arun has always been a sincere performer, and it pains me to watch him in third-rate movies where he’s made to seduce a ghost (she’s in a sultry avatar; even then, it’s a bar that’s below his stature). None of the films he has starred in has fetched him the kind of recognition he deserves (exclude PSV Garuda Vega, please!). And, as I’m going on and on about Arun, let me tell you that Hemanth has, also, not received his big break yet. As long as these actors continue to star in poorly written, and eyeball-grabbing, movies, they won’t be able to snatch the ones that’ll take them to the hearts of the audience.
The single biggest misery of this movie is not the ghost waiting for somebody to make love to her; it’s Nikki Tamboli. She doesn’t seem to know the ABC of acting. How did Santhosh even rope her in? Her lip sync and expressions were so off that I wanted to ask her if she knew the name and nature of the film she’s starred in.
Chikati Gadilo Chithakotudu is neither raunchy, nor funny, enough to achieve the cult status of the American Pie films. But I won’t be shocked if it travels to other southern states or the Hindi heartland. India is a country that promotes men leering at women on-screen, just not the other way around though.