Sugan, a compulsive flirt, and his friend Parasu, go after Maya, a sexy woman they encounter at a biriyani eatery, in the hopes of a promiscuous night. They get drunk and pass out, and when they wake up, they find the cops on their heels, blaming them for the disappearance of business magnate Varadarajan.
Venkat Prabhu definitely knows how to have a cake and eat it too. Fun is certainly the core of all his movies — not only the fun he has while making a film but the fun the audiences have while watching them — even when the genres are varied, be it a sports movie (Chennai 600028) or a thriller (Saroja), or even a noir (Mankatha). That is the case with Biriyani as well. It is essentially a murder mystery but Venkat seasons it with his brand of wink wink nudge nudge filmmaking, and turns it into an engaging entertainer.
The plot revolves around Sugan (Karthi), a compulsive flirt, and his friend Parasu (Premgi), who is always unfortunate when it comes to women (Sugan is mostly to blame). Sugan has an on-off relationship with his girlfriend Priyanka (Hansika), a TV personality, and he makes an impression on business tycoon Varadarajan (Nasser), who is being investigated by CBI officer Riyaz Ahmed (Sampath) for a quarry scam. Meanwhile, the duo encounters the sultry Maya (Mandy Thakkar), who invites them to her hotel. They pass out in her room but when they wake up, the cops are chasing them, blaming them for the disappearance of Varadarajan. What is the mystery here?
It was only recently that we had Naveena Saraswathi Sabatham, which was based on the premise of The Hangover. And, now, we have Biriyani, which seems to be the Venkat Prabhu version of The Hangover. Early in the film, Venkat shows a scene from The Hangover playing on the TV. Parasu jokingly remarks that it is not a great film because he remembers everything even when he is stone drunk. At that moment, the scene seems like a mere pop cultural reference but it is only when we see Sugan and Parasu trying to remember what happened in Maya's room do we realize that it is Venkat's way of foreshadowing things. This happens quite a bit in the film — with the occupations of Sugan's friends and girlfriend (which come in handy when they try to solve the mystery) and their fracas on the road with another car, and you understand the thinking that has gone into the script. There is even a plausible reason for Hansika's bad lipsync — she is Priyanka Sharma!
There are also clever employments of modern-day fads — when Sugan searches for Maya, Parasu 'watsapps' the picture to their friends, a flash mob in a crucial scene not only becomes a provider of one more clue to Sugan but also functions as a tribute to actor Ajith. The director also smartly strews his red herrings — Varadarajan's son-in-law (Ramki) who stands to gain most from his disappearance, Riyaz, a hitwoman who could have been employed by Varadarajan's rivals.
The film does take some time to get take off despite beginning with a car chase (too much time is spent on establishing Sugan's flirtatious nature), there are a couple of instances that are too much of a coincidence (the people with whom Sugan and Parasu have a quarrel just happen to have a Varadarajan connection, Riyaz's cop friend Vikram having something to do with the case) and the climax gets a little convoluted as Venkat goes for a twist ending (much like in Mankatha) rather than a straight one, but the script is racy enough (in both sense of the word) that you do not mind them much.