A1 movie cast: Santhanam, Tara Alisha Berry, Yatin Karyekar
A1 movie director: Johnson K
A1 movie rating: 1.5 stars
When Santhanam shoulders a film, you know you shouldn’t care about ‘logic’. The actor is no longer a comedian. He is a ‘mass hero’. In the beginning, Santhanam gets a ‘mass-y hero introduction’ scene where he beats up old guys. Divya (Tara Alisha Berry) wants a ‘rowdie boyfriend’. To test his valour, she arranges for goons to attack her. (This is downright bizarre). At the same time, Divya insists he should be of the same (Iyer) caste. Someone, please give me a break from this upper-caste-girl-romances-lower-caste-guy nonsense. It’s not even dignified.
Divya tells Saravanan she “can cook five varieties of thayir saadham!” (I am very much impressed). Divya kisses Saravanan without knowing he is not a Brahmin (ouch) — then apologises to him, saying she doesn’t want a relationship. She knows her dad doesn’t want a ‘local’ guy. We get a small flashback about Divya’s relative—Shobana’s character in Thalapathi. Like her aunt, she also wants a ‘manly guy’. (This made me go WTF).
Divya is this confused loosu ponnu, who doesn’t know what she wants but earns Rs 1 lakh per month. (I don’t know who employed her, really). Ten minutes into the story, I was sure that we were headed for an endless, agonising experience and I was right. Tell me I am judgemental. When the hero introduces himself as Saravanan, Divya doesn’t get a hint he is not a Brahmin. (Iyers/Iyengars don’t name their sons ‘Saravanan’, okay?) But Divya thought Saravanan was one because he was smearing naamam on his forehead.
Moreover, why can’t the makers have a Tamil-speaking heroine—when the script demands it? Alisha is like Hema D’Souza of Thanga Magan. Though she gets her lip-sync somewhat right, she’s not apt for the role. I can’t stand the pseudo-Brahmin slang they used in the film throughout. It was frustratingly fake. (Alisha reminded me of Pooja Kumar in Vishwaroopam, by the way).
Further, Saravanan plots to kill Divya’s father. What an ideal ‘hero’ he is. There is a scene where he speaks with Divya’s prospective groom. Saravanan tells, “Engalukulla ellam mudinjurchu. Naan video vera vechirken.” I could almost feel my skin crawl and mumbled to myself, “What a creep!” Then, we get a woman who rides a two-wheeler without a helmet. This constable gets hold of her, but says if she helps in his love, she doesn’t have to pay the fine amount. I can’t buy “this is a timepass popcorn-film, so-let’s-have-crass-stuff in the name of entertainment”.
The second half, however, gets better. Music by Santhosh Narayanan is decent with “Maalai Nera Mallipoo” stealing all the honours. It’s quite an earworm-y song.
A1 has plenty of Lollu Sabha jokes and Santhanam delivers them in his style—but those are the same old things we saw in Inimey Ippadithaan, Sakka Podu Podu Raja and Dhilluku Dhuddu 2. What’s different? Santhanam looks more refined—with toned biceps and legs. Of course, he has incredible comic timing. I don’t deny that—but half the time, it’s not put to good use. The result? A cringeworthy comedy of errors. I can tolerate Santhanam as long as he doesn’t speak filth, but that’s what he does. Maybe, vaaya thorakkama nadichcha, I will be okay.