For about half hour into Gemini Ganesanum Suruli Raajanum, I couldn’t believe what I was watching. The film seemed to be trying to be a rom-com, but its love portions were not Gemini Ganesan enough, and its comedy portions not Suruli Rajan enough. The hero, Gemini Ganesan (Atharvaa), goes about ‘correcting’—in films like this, there isn’t a better word to use—Lavanya (Regina Cassandra), and Soori, as Suruli Rajan, the hero’s sidekick, does what Soori does in the name of comedy. In his vocabulary, the number ‘73588451’ becomes ‘Jeven dhree by double eight bore by one’, ‘tiffin’ becomes ‘diffun’, ‘prove’ becomes ‘bru’, and ‘porom’ becomes ‘borom’. And some of the objectification of women during this period is nothing sort of sensational. I was positively raging when in Lavanya’s introduction scene, the camera drops to her chest area slowly, and eventually settles on her hip. Whoever has dubbed for her, has, for some reason, flavoured her lines with a needless, sexy drawl, à la the teacher in Nattamai. The bar for offensiveness is raised when Gemini, who’s talking to a girl with a make-up enhanced pimple, says, “Pimple. Paavam.” and hands her pimple-removal cream, which, according to the film, is the way to get yourself out of being single. Around this time, one female character says, “White a irukaravanga nallavanga nu solluvaanga.” And a couple of minor male characters are shown to be ‘suffering’ when they get stuck with a very dark lady, which supposedly is the epitome of unattractiveness. And all this in a film that features actors Atharvaa and Aishwarya Rajessh.
Gemini Ganesanum Suruli Raajanum
Cast: Atharvaa, Soori, Regina Cassandra, Aishwarya Rajessh
Director: Ilavarasu Odam
And then, unexpectedly, after a significant part of the first half had played out, as I was gearing up to gouge my eyes out in boredom and annoyance, the film suddenly got better… much, much better. From seemingly drifting in and out of aimless nothingness, Gemini Ganesan gets established as a playboy, Soori’s jokes suddenly get better, and some of the sexist portrayal, even if not completely justified, at least begins to make sense, given that the protagonist is established as a “fraud” and a man who cannot be bothered about the feelings of women. You’ve got to think of the film as the lighthearted neighbour of Manmadhan, and the distant, more innocent cousin of Trisha Illana Nayanthara.
Gemini is constantly labelled a fraud in the film, and commands little respect from even his family, especially his father. And the not-so-serious enmity between the father and son is quite enjoyable. Their exchanges happen only through raised eyebrows and mocking grins. Given the philosophy espoused by the hero, I’m guessing that the U-certificate is on account of the predictable, half-hearted reformation—which isn’t in keeping with the otherwise irreverent tone of the film—he goes through eventually.
I particularly enjoyed the film’s cheek towards the latter portions. In one scene, as Atharvaa stands heartbroken, the song in the background goes, Idhayameee…, a reminder of the contrastingly sincere romance the actor’s father was popular for. The one-too-many twists may have gotten a bit tiring, but the film, smart and self-aware, gets Soori expressing frustration at Gemini revealing his story in bits and pieces. And this is a recurring aspect of the film, not one that’s urgently thought out.
Atharvaa, in particular, shows great penchant for comedy, with his mock-innocent expressions. And the way the film ends is a far cry from its rather scarily mundane beginnings. As is the case with films that end well, Gemini Ganesanum Suruli Raajanum will likely go down as a pretty entertaining comedy. Also, it isn’t every day that a Tamil film has the audacity to show its hero pretending to help orphan children, only so he can get a woman interested in him. Hell, he’s even the sort to feed and groom beggars, if he knows a woman’s looking at him. And for such hilarious impudence, and that alone, I left the theatre feeling some love for this film.
This review was written for The New Indian Express. All copyrights belong to the organisation. Do link to this page if you’d like to share this review.