Rating: 3 stars

This movie is Kamal's filler effort before his magnum opus, Maruthanayagam. Reputed to be a comedy and pairing with Prabu Deva for the first time, I went to the movie with high expectations. After all Kamal has given us gems in comedies such as Michael Madana Kamaraajan and the recent Avvai Shanmughi. The movie is playing in more than 20 theaters & cineplexes in the city (Kuala Lumpur) and the Saturday midnight crowd was filling the cinema to capacity.

Ramalingam (Kamalhassan) and Sundaralingam (Prabu Deva) are orphans who raise children left in the garbage dumps. Landlord Delhi Ganesh gives them a hard time, and the two guys are forced to look for ways to make money. Prabu Deva is a good artist and Kamal looks up the obituaries and visits the families of the deceased to sell them these paintings, on the pretext that it was ordered by the deceased before his death. (Feeling deja vu?) Into their lives come two girls, Soundarya and Ramba who they promptly fall in love with. Kamal and Prabhu D in Kaadhalaa KaadhalaaKamal's future father-in-law is in the States (we're shown a scene of him driving along a highway in the US - only that we can see it as a movie in the background!). Prabu's father in law MS Viswanathan (in his first starring role - impressive) is against his daughter marrying someone without a station in life.  However, they get married without their parents' approval. On Soundarya's advice, Ramba writes to her parents saying that Prabu Deva is becoming successful, and after a year, writes saying that she has given birth to a son. All is forgiven by their parents who rush over to meet their daughter and son-in-law. Soundarya proposes to rent a bungalow for use during their visit and also to "rent" a baby. Therein the hilarity begins....

The frame-for-frame copy of the "selling-painting-to-deceased-family" from Naam Iruvar Namakku Iruvar was an immediate put off. To add insult to injury, NINI also starred Prabu Deva with music by Kartik Raja! Apparently there is no limit to Kamal's "getting inspired" skills. From concepts to story-lines, he has now even matured to effects such as the horns growing (from She Devil). If one can put that behind, the movie is quite enjoyable. By the intermission, the going gets very complicated and absolutely hilarious. Kamal's age is catching up on him and the fact that Prabu Deva is co-starring, help to accentuate the age factor. I was expecting great dancing from the pair - Prabu Deva didn't disappoint, but comparatively, Kamal's movement seemed exaggerated. Kartik Raja's music is adequate without anything to shout about. He has grossly underused the DTS system, which is a shame. Of the songs, Kaasumeleh is an excellent dappangkuthu, while Madona paadalaa nee is nicely captured on film. Saravanabava sounds better than what is shown on the screen (something to do with an old Kamal in young Murugan's veisham!). The movie boasts a huge cast, besides the leading four: M. S. Viswanathan, Mouli, Delhi Ganesh, Sri Vidya, Kovai Sarala. Even Cho and Nagesh make it towards the end! Except for some intimate scenes in the love songs, the movie is suitable for minors.

Namma Ooru Velan

Original Photograph (Kaadhalaa Kaadhalaa): Audio CD cover
Photograph scanned & reworked by: Krishna