Kalakalappu 2: A bloated comedy that gets funnier as it goes

At some point in Kalakalappu 2, as your head is thrown back in laughter — much like many others in the theatre — you will dimly realise that you’ve, without knowing, given in to the shameless charms of the film. You’ll become aware that you’ve stopped worrying about how sizeist or sexist the jokes are, mainly on account of how dedicatedly director Sundar C concocts the most preposterous of situations with just one noble intention — to get you laughing. And to that end, everything — including logic and plot — goes out of the window. Seenu (Jiiva), at one point, almost looking in the direction of critics, responds to an improbable occurrence by wondering how it could have happened. His friend says, “Because this is a Sundar C film.”

Cast: Jiiva, Jai, RJ Shiva, Catherine Tresa, Nikki Galrani
Director: Sundar C

I just wish the film weren’t as bloated though. The truly enjoyable lines and situations are surrounded by plenty of offensive and annoying padding, but there were those in the theatres who didn’t seem to care — and those clearly are the people Sundar C cares about. Take the love tracks, for instance, between Seenu and Hema (Catherine Tresa), and Raghu (Jai) and Aishwarya (Nikki Galrani). The men don’t just fall in love at first sight; they pulsate with red hot lust. Hema leans on to Seenu accidentally, and he closes his eyes, creepily savouring, it seems, the first touch of a strange woman in his life. Raghu is worse. He just can’t stop obsessing over the waist of Aishwarya (that the camera keeps drawing attention to), and in one scene, as he’s hiding from her relative, manages to pinch it. She reacts with mock outrage, and he responds, “You dress like this because you wanted me to do this, right?” He quickly tries to salvage it with, “Un hips-a vida, un lips dhaan enakku pidikkum.” I could begin to perhaps understand if such objectification resulted in commensurate laughter, but really, they aren’t even funny; so you’re just left with a couple of sex-starved men who can’t take their eyes off two dull airheads.

But thankfully, there’s not a whole lot of it in Kalakalappu 2. A majority of the ‘story’ occurs in Varanasi, and so, a fair number of fake spiritual leaders are the butt of ridicule. One guy, who sits with his back turned at his devotees — for fear of being recognised by police — is called Mudhugu Baba. It’s very, very hard not to laugh. There are all sorts of such nutty ideas. There’s a man who can remember his identity only for 10 seconds. There’s a dog that suffers from both diabetes and kleptomania. There’s another man who just can’t stop getting beaten up. There’s a bull called Ramesh. Another man turns into a vicious, violent creature, come new moon day. And these are all only some of the characters who populate this universe, and who all, eventually, come together at the end — like in Crazy Mohan comedies — to much ensuing hilarity. Best of all, there’s RJ Shiva who apparently can get you laughing by saying anything. He gets conned once, and comments, “Nee Gentleman Arjun nu nenachen, but Mankatha Arjun nu kaamichita.” In hindsight, it’s not a particularly funny line, but when the actor says it…

The film needed to be tighter… a lot tighter. You almost groan in frustration as Sundar C uses some time-tested methods to set you up for the songs — the admittedly fairly catchy songs. A dupatta coming to rest on the hero’s face. A hero chasing his girlfriend on Holi. A group of men sitting together to have a drink. You sense — no, fear — these incoming songs, but are forced to tolerate them anyway. I just wish the director would go easy on the songs, make the heroines a lot cleverer, avoid the heroes-are-horny-and-isn’t-that-funny scenes… when he eventually considers making a third film in this franchise. I’m definitely happy for the existence of these films at a time when this genre is all but dead. There aren’t too many directors like Sundar C out there, when it comes to conjuring up hilarious visuals. In one unforgettably funny scene, RJ Shiva’s character keeps sliding down a man’s belly. It’s a visual I suspect I can never truly forget.

This review was written for Cinema Express, the cinema division of The New Indian Express. All copyrights belong to the organisation. Do link to its page if you’d like to share it.

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