It is hard to be critical about a film like Dikkiloona, which doesn’t take itself seriously. You are not supposed to look for logic or take things at face value, which, in this case, is Santhanam trying to sell you a time-travel film. It’s the regular ‘counter dialogue’ fare—which is so yesterday—that you get in all of his films, including his more recent ones like A1 and Parris Jeyaraj. Everything is, by design, mindless in Dikkiloona because the idea is to make you laugh and entertain. The problem though is, it does neither, as director Karthik Yogi confuses silliness for humour.
I did not mind the unreliable narrator played by Nizhalgal Ravi, who claims to be from a super-distant future when the Earth is dead, and humans have supposedly colonised Mars. However, his future turns out to be an anti-climatic damp squib, much like Santhanam’s many ‘counters’. As for the story, there isn’t much else than what you suspected from the trailer. Mani (Santhanam) is an EB lineman in 2027, who stumbles upon a dilapidated car boot that leads to an underground lab teeming with scientists working on a time machine. They are short of a formula to make the machine run. Due to Mani’s interruption, Albert (Yogi Babu), the lab’s janitor, who is conveniently the hero’s childhood buddy, gets electrocuted and wakes up superintelligent, spelling out the formula. With the help of Albert, Mani goes back to 2020 to stop his wedding, which seems to be the only problem in his life.
That’s the issue with Dikkiloona. Like its protagonist, it doesn’t aim for too much. Forget the moon, it doesn’t even go for the ceiling. Budget could be cited as a problem, but that argument doesn’t hold water after what director R Ravi Kumar pulled off with Indru Netru Naalai. The real problem with Dikkiloona is the paucity of creative writing. We get the same old self-deprecating lines launched at Chitra Lakshmanan. The only thing that worked, at least for me, is the Shawshank Redemption-esque bit—forgive me for the comparison—that comes at the end of the film. And yet, let me clarify that the film isn’t unwatchable, largely I think because of its predictability. It demands little from you. It is like the song that comes up automatically while you are driving, and you don’t have the time or energy to change it.
We must also notice that this film, for the lack of a better word, is problematic. Sexism is at the core of the story. It’s about a man wishing to stop his wedding and that wouldn’t be bad if every wrong in Mani’s life were not attributed to the women in his life. Also, look at how quickly the film resorts to fat-shaming, sexism, and regressive humour we thought were ugly relics of the past. In one scene, Santhanam schools one of the female leads, Meghna (Shirin Kanchwala), about how a ‘good girl’ should dress. That took me into the past. Hey, what do you know—this is probably what they meant by time-travel film.
Director: Karthik Yogi
Cast: Santhanam, Yogi Babu, Anagha, Shirin Kanchwala
Streaming on: ZEE5