Imagine you’re stuck in a carpool ride on a long night, and a wasted, foul-mouthed co-passenger begins to narrate a crass, raving mad story. Imagine the pain of sitting through this story in darkness, hoping he will pass out soon in fatigue.
Watching the Jithan Ramesh-starrer Ongala Podanum Sir can be likened to this.
Unlike that hypothetical carpooler, I guess I should have seen this coming, given the bizarre title and promos.
Ongala Podanum Sir constantly got me wondering about the horribly sleazy ideas that must have gone through the director duo’s minds while penning the script. A car horn honks when the camera pans across a woman’s breasts; a male character drapes a saree around himself and threatens to kill a woman if she refuses to strip along with him, on a live show; a killer affixes a booby trap to the victim’s nether parts and arouses him with a seductress — the list is endless.
Even if you have immense stress management skills and survive the vulgarity in such scenes, the absurdity in the rest of the film is sure to make you faint. During a particular scene, Dhaaveedh (Jithan Ramesh) drives his car in what is clearly a hill station — I repeat, hill station — and a van that crosses him halts for a second and asks, “Sir idhu Tambaram ah? Urapakkam epdi poradhu?” That shows the kind of work the makers have put in here.
Despite its huge baggage of objectionable content, Ongala Podanum Sir does have an interesting start with a back story of two friends, narrated using apt illustrations. It almost deluded me into thinking the film might be interesting. But sadly that turned out to be the only worthwhile part of Ongala Podanum Sir.
This might have been a passable watch if only they had written the rest of the script with the same sensibility.
Ongala Podanum Sir is meant to be Jithan Ramesh’s comeback film, and he himself makes sure that we are aware of it by announcing it innovatively every 30 minutes, saying things like, “Reentry la adhaan careful-a handle pannanum,” “Idhu en marupiravi,” “Epo varanum, epdi varanum nu yosichu dhaan vandhuruken.” He also gets the customary “Hey, hey” chorus during his intro shot, a Kabali-esque ovation from fellow prisoners when he gets released from jail, and a couple of ‘punch dialogues’. But none of this is in any way effective. His ambitious transformation in the latter half only makes us feel bad for him.
During a particular scene, the camera pans over the rest of the actors, who are running for their life, and in the background, Ramesh gives a voiceover that goes, “Adhukkulla bayandhu oditta epdi? Innum neraya iruku.” Considering the plight of the audience in the theatre, this dialogue is undoubtedly the best fourth wall-breaking scene of the decade.
Film: Ongala Podanum Sir
Director: RL Ravi - Sreejith Vijayan
Cast: Jithan Ramesh, Sanuja Somanadh, Jonita Doda