Look, the film is titled Evanukku Engeyo Macham Irukku and it’s A-certified. So the implied location of the ‘macham’ isn’t exactly a secret. But nevertheless, the film has a fortune-teller telling Hari (Vemal) the whereabouts of his all-important mole (how he knows this is anybody’s guess): “Mukkiya edam.” You could say the film itself, in a sense, is centered on this ‘mukkiya edam’. Most characters in this film are creatures of lust, and give you the impression that as much as saying a hello to them could get misconstrued as a sexual advance. Poor Surekha (Ashna Zaveri, whose face the camera shows little interest in) looks at Hari for the first time, only for him to respond with a persistent, intense gaze of unadulterated lust. Starving lions don’t look at sleeping gazelles with as much desire. Women in U-certified films would usually run for life, but as this is an A-certified film, Surekha responds with interest, her breath heaving in pleasure. In one extraordinarily disturbing scene, a gust of wind conspires, much to our misfortune, to lift Hari’s dhoti, revealing his shorts. Surekha is watching the horror from downstairs, but bizarrely, again perhaps because this is an A-certified film, she reacts by smacking her lips. That moment, I judged her like nobody has ever judged another person. I sincerely hope that a new generation of youngsters don’t get encouraged by such ill-advised wooing manoeuvres.
Director: AR Mukesh
Cast: Vemal, Ashna Zaveri
It’s not just the men in this film; most of the women are also sexually charged. There’s a femme fatale type who just can’t get enough. Perhaps because she’s from London, she’s shown to be constantly drinking British Empire beer. There’s another woman who’s all over Hari, and get this — there’s once when he actually rebuffs her advances because he’s shown to be into Surekha. Oh, the sacrifice. In a later scene, Hari and his friend, Giri (an annoyingly loud Singampuli), discover a lot of cash when they are burgling a woman’s home. Hari points out that it’s all cash earned in a single day, and Giri laments, “Namma ponnaa porandhurkanum.” In another scene, a supposedly wise gangster (Anandaraj) quips: “Pondaatiyum, galla-um careful-a paathukanum; illa escape aidum.” Women eloping is an idea repeated more than once in this film. Giri’s wife is shown to do this, but truth be told, you judge her for not walking out — or should I say, scaling the wall at night — sooner. She talks about how he doesn’t take good care of her, and because this is an A-certified film, she says, “Jacket kooda vaangi thara vakkilla.” Her mother-in-law, upon learning this, expresses disappointment that the woman eloped despite having two male children, who she likens to lion cubs. If it were daughters though…
Mostly, you watch this film with a resigned look, like you’re at the receiving end of a bad appraisal. You can’t walk out half-way, even if it’s soul-crushing. Occasionally, the film takes you on an unexciting trip from indifference to outrage, but you make the return trip fairly quickly. The characters are constantly engaged in mundane chatter that’s impossible to block out. The film’s idea of humour is to have a man empty his bladder, and then zip his pants a second earlier than he should have. If you’re the sort to find mentions of the word ‘condom’ worthy of a nervous laugh, you’ll find this film to be a riot. The film is constantly referencing condoms for some inexplicable reason. A woman buys it and gets judged by a pharmacist. Hari and Giri are constantly stealing them from households. During one drinking sessions, Giri keeps smelling one, because… “strawberry flavour”. I sat, waiting in vain for one singular moment in this film that would evoke a strong emotional response from me. Just one. And it came, finally, just after interval. It was the tobacco-alcohol public service announcement, and they had spelled ‘injurious’ as ‘injuriuos’.
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.