Tillu Square Movie Review: A Rare Sequel That Improves On The Original

Siddhu Jonnalagadda's sequel rights the wrongs of the original to deliver a frequently funny outing
Tillu Square Review
Tillu Square Review

Director: Malik Ram

Writers: Siddhu Jonnalagadda and Ravi Anthony

Cast: Siddhu Jonnalagadda, Anupama Parameswaran, Muralidhar Goud

Duration: 135 minutes

Available in: Theatres

Tillu (Siddhu Jonnalagadda) is back and so is his deadpan humour. After being pulled by Radhika (Neha Sshetty) into a pool of dirt in the first film, he is scared of commitment on the personal front but is thriving on the professional front, having managed to establish a business. But he cannot help but get smitten by Lily (Anupama Parameswaran) and what starts off as a one-night-stand leads to many crazy twists, much to the dismay and shock of Tillu, who just wants to brush his past under the carpet. One year after the events of the first film, on Tillu’s uneventful birthday, a new level of chaos is unlocked in Tillu’s life. The stakes are much bigger this time.

Last time (the original, DJ Tillu hit the screens in 2022), it was an accidental murder, and this time, a big mafia don is involved, adding to poor Tillu's struggles. But Tillu remains the same witty, helpless guy whose defense mechanism is self-deprecating humour. Of course, he has learned a few lessons on the way but he is still the same hyper-local braggart who takes great pride in his identity, oozing confidence whenever he's not in a terrible scenario. Like the original, the energy of this character and the film are inseparable and whenever Tillu is on screen, he lights it up with his magnetic self-aware humour.

A still from the film
A still from the film

Tillu Square is that rare sequel that improves on the original in nearly every aspect. The first film, after a hilarious first half, was brought down by a messy second half and it is evident that the writers have been very cautious about dodging the second-half syndrome this time. As a result, we get a true sequel that not just traces the progress of the protagonist and the lingering consequences of his murky past, but also fixes the issues from the first film. For instance, the major issue with the second half of the original was that when new characters entered and the crime took centre stage, it sucked the joy out of the narrative. In the sequel, even if the crime is introduced right after the interval, the focus remains on the weird relationship between Tillu and Lily, and the adventures our guy is forced into.

The film relies entirely on Tillu’s personality and it doesn’t disappoint. His countless one-liners, most of them delivered with a straight face, work like a charm. What makes it work, even in familiar situations is Tillu, who is just incredibly likable. Most of the gags are just Tillu explaining to people all the terrible situations he has been dragged into and the analogies he has in store to back up these stories are outright hilarious; it is impossible to pick a handful because the film is filled with countless original jokes that emanate directly from Tillu’s personality.

At a time when films often aim for low-hanging fruits by simply referring to viral online content, memes, and other social media trends, the humour in Tillu Square is refreshing because almost every joke is based on Tillu and the deep mess he is in. I believe films should inspire pop-culture discourse, and not the other way around and Tillu Square is a worthy addition in this line.

It occasionally does feel that Tillu Square is obsessed with the original. While the story is a direct continuation, the need to recreate a couple of moments feels forced because DJ Tillu (2022) is still fresh in our memory. Apart from that and a shoehorned dance number in the second half, Tillu Square is a smooth sail. In a film that’s filled with hilarity, I particularly loved the carefree interactions between Tillu and his dad, played by Muralidhar Goud, who is excellent as the angry, dismissive father. Every interaction between the duo is hilarious.

The hallmark of a great comedy franchise is not just creating a funny protagonist but also populating this world with equally likeable and amusing supporting characters and Tillu Square does this perfectly; even Tillu’s sidekicks make a funny impression this time and I look forward to catching Tillu, his family and friends in the third part, if we do get one. And I will be up for it because the prospect of having a home-grown comedy franchise is never not exciting.

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