Three friends get embroiled with a mafia gang after Nakki's stool sample gets mixed up with the gang's diamonds package
: Going by last week's Kedi Billa Killadi Ranga and now, Settai (Crazy), Tamil filmmakers seem to have resigned themselves to pandering to the gallery in the hope of getting more butts on the seats in the theatres. Both are comedies but what really unifies them is how unambitious and crowd-pleasing they are.
It all begins when Madhu (Hansika) picks up a mysterious package and sweet-talks her lover JK into delivering it. But his roommate Cheenu wrongly delivers their friend Nakki's stool sample (his bowels have turned to water, thanks to a devilish Ileana Chicken to the mafia boss (Nasser). Now, with the gang hot on their heels, the three friends, enlist the help of fellow journalist Shakthi and try to get out of this literally shitty business.
Settai, a remake of Delhi Belly, more or less manages to duplicate the glorious scatological humour of its source, though only this remains its chief success. Delhi Belly was a straightforward story based on the classic 'accidental switch' plot. For the Tamil version ("adaptation", as the makers prefer to term it), director Kannan has replaced the edginess of the original, characterized by its irreverence, presentation of modern-day relationships, grubby visual aesthetic and yes, even the swear words, with broad humour and a very much conventional approach to characterization and storytelling. Not that this is necessarily bad but it definitely makes the film commonplace.
You only have to look at Seenu's fantasy song after he is dumped by his girlfriend to realize what is lost in translation. The staging of the song is so tame and feels more like a parody that it doesn't fully do justice to the lyrics and music. The other songs, even if you buy the argument that they are included only for commercial considerations (whatever that may mean), are so indifferently picturized (foreign locations, Caucasian dancers and the like). Also, you wonder why Kannan, after setting the film in Bombay, had to make every major character speak in Tamil. The film could have been taking place in North Madras for that matter and wouldn't have lost anything in that.
Still, despite these compromises, if the film works, it is primarily because of Akshat Verma's script which exploits the comedy that arises out of the confusion resulting out of a switch. Though lacking a distinct flavour, some of John Mahendran's lines hit the bull's eye (Taste-a irundhalum chewing gum-a thuppi thaana aganum). As for the performances, Arya, Premgi and Santhanam are believable as roommates in a run-down house. Santhanam, in fact, gleefully unleashes toilet humour, some original and some derived, making the most out of his character's plight. Nasser, despite replicating Vijay Raaz's performance, has great fun with the role and it is difficult to imagine any other Tamil actor superbly balancing this sort of villainy and comedy. As for the ladies, Anjali is adequate as a hip reporter, but Hansika's lip sync goes for a toss and is a comedy in itself.
: Forget there was a Delhi Belly and you'll have a good time watching this film; even more so if you dig bathroom humour.