A still from the movie LGM.
A still from the movie LGM.

'LGM' movie review: How to destroy a good premise

The premise needed more sensitive eyes and way more emotional insight—and the film has neither.

The premise of LGM is my most favourite—and sadly, my only favourite—part of the film. It’s about a young woman, Meera (Ivana), deciding that she can’t marry her two-year boyfriend, Gowtham (Harish Kalyan), unless she knows for sure that she will get along with his mother (Nadhiya). And to this end, she has “an idea”, a dialogue repeated multiple times in the film to no great effect. She suggests that both families go on a trip together, so she can gauge her compatibility with her future mother-in-law. This premise is rooted in the topics of patriarchy and sexism—and has the potential to speak of how women are expected to naturally adjust to living not just with the person they are in love with, but those attached to him as well—and how this ‘tolerance’ is expected only of women. It’s an idea that has the potential to speak of family bonds, of the utility of new relationships, of how society tramples the individuality of women… However, over 150 minutes, all LGM tramples is its only good aspect: The promising premise.

And it sets about this with cold precision, through many efficient ways. Its aim at being a comedy is more laughable than its humour—and the desperate attempts, in fact, serve to undercut the importance of its premise. There’s a scene on the terrace in which Meera tells Gowtham that she never imagined living with anyone else except him and how the idea of his mother living with them causes her great discomfort. It’s a sensitive plea, but the performances and the dialogue-writing don’t help. Worse is when the film sneaks in a silly joke as a continuation of this scene, almost like it doesn’t take Meera too seriously. At one point, I wondered whether the film even understood Meera’s problem, or whether her concern was just a ‘cool premise’. Gowtham’s friend (Mirchi Vijay) doesn’t think much of her. Gowtham’s boss (Venkat Prabhu) doesn’t seem to get the issue either. Later, Yogi Babu—in between some reasonably funny jokes—keeps vilifying both Meera and her prospective mother-in-law (Nadhiya). Gowtham himself acts like a victim, as the classic innocent man torn between two women—when he is the person, of the three, whose life is altered the least.

The premise needed more sensitive eyes and way more emotional insight—and the film has neither. It presents the loneliness of Gowtham’s mother but doesn’t care enough to tell us more. It reminds us that her husband died early and that Gowtham and Meera strangely use it as a diss, but none of this is followed up with any real catharsis. As for Meera’s own ‘ideas’, the film seems to have judged them as strange—and so, what it proceeds to do is build on this and move to stranger ideas. How else can you explain the bizarreness of both women (Meera and mother-in-law) tripping on drugged sweets at a strange ashram populated by white people speaking a strange language? Or are both women getting kidnapped by poachers and getting chained to a cage with a tiger? How do these ideas even fit into the emotional idea of two women learning to love each other?

The film begins with the sensations of a rom-com, but soon, turns into something resembling a road-trip film. But soon again, the women get isolated, and it begins to seem like this is a film about these women and how they find themselves while searching for each other. But then, soon, they are dancing around drugged and needing to be saved by a man (Yogi Babu), who calls them the bane of his life. Ultimately, this is a nothing film, lacking any real interest in itself.

After a while, I signed out mentally, waiting like the tiger, to be released from my suffering. I merely stared, enduring the film’s hodge-podge of nonsensical, mirthless ideas. I stared as Ivana and Nadhiya woke up, looking fairly well made-up, after supposedly being unconscious in a forest for an entire night. I stared, as Sandy Master, dressed up as a saamiyaar, dances to a psychedelic song and encourages Ivana and Nadhiya to do the same. I started as Ivana and Nadhiya inadvertently drug two horses and get lost in a jungle. I stared as Yogi Babu and a tiger fly at each other, and the film presents it as some apocalyptic faceoff.

The film is produced by Dhoni Entertainment, and Yogi Babu, in his opening scene, calls attention to his photograph with MS Dhoni. He is even called Mahendra in the film. Over the years, Dhoni has saved plenty of cricket matches that seemed hopeless with his last-minute hitting—and perhaps this film hoped Yogi Babu, named Mahendra, would pull off something similar. He does try with some jokes that seem particularly efficient because he’s mocking the film’s characters at a time when we feel quite frustrated with the film. As Meera narrates a story, he encourages her to go on as “it is keeping the tiger asleep”. On another occasion, he patiently listens to a back story and brutally dubs it ‘mokkai’. But these fleeting jokes are the equivalent of a last-ball six when your team is losing by an innings and a couple of hundred runs.

Film: LGM

Director: Ramesh Thamilmani

Cast: Harish Kalyan, Ivana, Nadhiya, Mirchi Vijay, Yogi Babu

Rating: 1.5/5

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