After tasting success with his first film, the Ajith-starrer Mugavaree, director VZ Dhorai went on to make films that were either under-appreciated or were intolerable. After Mugavaree, it was Kadhal Sadugudu. Similarly, after Thotti Jaya in 2005, it was Nepali in 2008.
Keeping with the trend, after 6 Melugu Varthigal in 2013 — his best till date, in my opinion — he comes up with Yemaali, a film that left me wondering what was in it for him to have spent half a decade on it.
Yemaali is the story of Maali (Sam Jones) and his brother-from-another-mother, Aravind (Samuthirakani), and how they plan on killing Maali’s ex-girlfriend. They even call the ‘project’ Yemaali, a wordplay on both their names. But why do they want to kill this girl? Because she broke up with him, of course. Welcome to 2018, guys.
It’s hard to find anything positive worth mentioning in Yemaali. But volumes can be written on why this film shouldn’t have gone past the writing stage. Aside from Samuthirakani, almost the entire cast is filled with unfamiliar faces, none of whom makes a mark with their acting. Add to this, the terrible lip sync. Though Samuthirakani is the only saving grace of the film, giving him a love angle was a bad idea. As a man who cohabitates with a girl he saves, seeing him play pranks on the girl feels bizarre. If that weren’t enough, there’s his English to make matters worse. “I was realised,” he says at one point and ends the sentence by throwing in the word ‘esatly’.
While there have been plenty of films which have portrayed women in bad light through the dialogues, Yemaali takes it up a notch. There’s the usual bar song where our hero goes about on how women can’t be trusted and ironically, dances with only women in it.
The camera angles used in this song to capture the women are, let’s say, not very gentlemanly. As if they haven’t objectified women and glorified drinking enough already, in the very next scene, a call taxi driver, who apparently drives around drunk people for free as they’re “pacha kozhanthainge mathiri” says, just like films showing the ‘drinking is injurious to health’ disclaimer, they should also state that girls are injurious to life. And in another scene, the hero and heroine are alone in a hotel room and while he stares at her thighs, she murmurs that she’s glad she waxed her legs.
How some unintendedly funny scenes actually made it to the final cut, I’ll never know. In one particular scene, Samuthirakani looks at a girl and asks, “Khichdi ok ah?”, to which she replies, “Biriyani kedaikuma.”
Then they break into laughter as though it were funny and this, as expected, leads to a song. The songs too don’t help the film in any way. And while we’re on music, I’d like to point out that in a crucial scene, they’ve used the theme music of the Sherlock series, without a missed beat.
On the whole, Yemaali is a tedious watch with not even a single aspect to salvage it. At one point, Maali tells Aravind, “Nee pesinaa Tamil Naade convince aagum, thambi naan convince aaga matten.” Well, me too, Aravind. Me too.