Like a drunk man experiencing an occasional, fleeting moment of lucidity, RK Nagar, every now and then, seems to recognise its own astounding mediocrity. The film begins by introducing us to half-a-dozen peripheral characters. There are a bunch of teenage perverts who make secret recordings of naked women and upload them at their internet browsing centre (yes, such a place once existed). These boys then go on to get so little screen time that I began wondering if I had seen them in a different film. The film then introduces you to a local political goonda called Mannu. He’s a bad guy, you are told.
There’s his rival called Lotta (Sampath). He’s named so because he’s a Saurav Ganguly fan. He’s a good guy, you are told. This good guy, however, is oblivious to the consequences of his actions, and is easily motivated to kill people. He has an inspector friend, Nagendran. And then suddenly, this drunk film seems to realise that it has forgotten about its protagonist, Shankar (Vaibhav). So, a narrator helpfully tells you: “Ivangala paththiye paakardhaala ivanga hero nu nenachuraadhinga.” Right, thanks for the warning.
Shankar’s the hero, and you recognise this film thinks so because he is introduced with an item song that goes, ‘Adiyei, usupeththa vaa’. RK Nagar’s excuse for this song is that he was in a dream. Shankar’s actually in a police station and is a rambler who can’t be stopped from blathering on. RK Nagar regains some consciousness suddenly, when inspector Nagendran says, “Yen sammandham illaama pesitrukka?” But then, it slips back into drunken stupor again. RK Nagar is a famous political constituency, and this film is about a hapless man caught in between two rival political fact i o n s .
However, so mediocre is every department—including the performances, screenplay, music—that you don’t come close to feeling any sense of tension, as the bodies pile up. The tension you feel is of a different variety. Shankar gets a ‘love story’ with Ranjini/ Kamatchi (Sana Althaf). Well, if your idea of love is to fall down from the first floor of a building and have a man run to you, not to enquire about your safety, but to look at you like a starving man would look at a strawberry.
And then, he says a pick-up line — a literal pick-up line, given this situation — that is shown to sow the seeds of romance in this girl: “Kai kaal odanja unna yevan kattipaan?” The girl goes into a trance thinking about this profound piece of wisdom. Also, this hero, like many in 90s Tamil films, has a condition that has to be met. Like Jodi Prashanth ran around with an anklet, like Ninaithen Vandhai Vijay looked for a mole, Shankar has a stitched dress that his prospective bride has to fit into.
To be fair though, he gets a pretty dull woman. After a few days of acquaintance, Ranjini chances upon Shankar on the road, as he is chasing two men with a sickle. A normal person may be shocked, frightened even, but she looks at him like he were running to her with a bouquet of flowers. Later, a character gets murdered and someone suggests that Shankar could be responsible. This girl, the antithesis of logic, says it’s not possible because “he isn’t the type to kill people”.
My head throbbed in pain. Shankar’s logic, meanwhile, for why he’s dating this ‘impoverished girl’ is quite revealing of the person he is. “A poor girl will fetch you home when you are drunk on the road,” he says. “A rich girl, however, will be the one drunk on the road, and you will have to bring her home.” But at least this love story is bizarre enough to warrant some attention, unlike the political happenings in this film and its strange twists. Towards the end, this film, for the final time, regains its consciousness for a fleeting second, when Ranjini frowns at Shankar and asks a question that won’t be out of place as a criticism of the film i t s e l f : “Enna kevalama-ana love da undhu?”
Cast: Vaibhav, Sana Althaf,Sampath