What if the Kollywood hero, who searches for reasons to get high on alcohol, is replaced with a full-time stoner, who finds his reason for living in drugs, and the quintessential hero’s friend, who usually doubles up as his Cupid, is replaced by a randy dog singing item numbers like Nethu Rathiri Yemma? Sounds like a quirky idea that promises to take us on a hilarious ride, doesn’t it? Well, Simba half-succeeds in hitting that mark. Though the film has a plethora of insanely funny elements providing constant laughs, the hiccups to the fun come in the form of inconsistency in the screenplay.
We are introduced to the world of Mahesh (Bharath), a stoner, through a scene which brilliantly juggles between shots of him enjoying a hallucinated snowfall in his garden, a flashback to his middle-school teacher scolding him, and his manager bashing him in reality for his under-performance. And the reaction of dopamine on the nervous system is shown as an animation every time he takes a drug. The composition of such scenes is impeccable and takes even the sober on a trip.
A big shout-out to director Arvind Sridhar and composer Vishal Chandrasekhar for giving the audience one of the best audiovisual experiences in recent times. Interestingly, six out of seven songs in the album are about getting high, and thankfully, all of them gel well with the flow of the film and don’t feel out of place.
Premgi Amaren as Simba, the dog in human form, steals the show with his antics and timely one-liners. I’d say this is his career-best performance, as he embraces the character wholeheartedly with absolutely no inhibitions. Interestingly, the voiceovers of almost all the dogs in the film are mimicked by famous actors. The scene where Simba confronts a gang of street dogs with voices of Raghuvaran, Kamal, VS Raghavan, and Shiva, and him mimicking the Deiva Thirumagal court scene brings down the house.
Though the film works big time due to such quirky elements, the main conversations between Simba and Mahesh, which are supposed to propel the story forward, are a letdown. The scenes where Mahesh goes on and on about irrelevant topics get repetitive after a point.
Despite due allowance to Simba for being a fantasy comedy, the conflicts in the plot feel very shallow and inconsistent. While the prime motive of Mahesh is to woo Madhu (Bhanu Sri Mehra) and make her fall for him, we hardly get to see any scenes of them together. It feels odd to see him spending time with her dog instead, assuming that would impress her. The other major issue I had with the film is the portrayal of Swathi Deekshith’s character. Despite some early promise, her entire episode ends up being nothing but a forced skin show.
Mahesh’s character and Simba’s plot seem to have a lot in common _ they both have their bright moments and they take you on a trip, but when it comes to the crucial moments when they should be hitting the bullseye, they don’t.
Director: Arvind Sridhar
Cast: Bharath Niwas, Premgi Amaren, Bhanu Sri Mehra