A young man fired from his job finds bundles of cash at his doorstep. He decides to keep it but two gangs, to whom the money belongs, come after him. Can he dodge them and getaway with the cash?
The hero of Damaal Dumeel lives life comfortably — he has a high-paying job (project lead in a software company); lives in a posh, tastefully decorated rented apartment; has his own house in another town where his mom and sister live; has plans to conduct the wedding of his sister with no expenses spared; and, has a good-looking girlfriend. He also believes in numerology and astrology — he has named himself Moneykandan (Vaibhav, a little bland for this role) to invite wealth; every morning, he gets astrology alerts on his mobile phone, and even dresses accordingly. He is also a little self-centred —when he comes across a news item on TV where the IT crowd is blamed for the all-round rise in prices, he just tells himself that they are jealous and skips the channel. In other words, an ordinary young man with desires that most of us can identify with.
Everything is going great for Money but his cocooned world comes crashing down when he is fired out of the blue. He is worried about all his financial commitments (in a niftily shot scene, the director shows this with the faces of everyone from the landlord to the head-scratching watchman asking his for money) and to top it, his girlfriend, Meera (Remya Nambeesan, in a rather short role), tells him that her father would like to meet him.
It is in such a scenario that Moneykandan finds a mysterious box at his doorstep. He opens it up only to discover bundles of cash. He plans to it to himself but little does he know that the box belongs to the notorious gangster, Ilavarasu, who has sent it for his friend Meenakshisundaram, a counterfeit drug maker who is on the run from the cops. With the henchmen of both these criminals now after him, Money plans a quick getaway to a foreign country. But that proves easier said than done.
The trouble with Damaal Dumeel is that it is a little late to the party. Black comedy as a genre was a trend in 2013 and we have had a handful of such films in recent times (Soodhu Kavvum, Neram, Moodar Koodam, to name a few) that we are only too familiar with the elements — grey-shaded leading man, cash, rival gangs, cops, confusion, shootout. So, we are able to sort of sense how this story is going to unfold; we know the criminals will be confounded, we know there will be a climatic shootout and Money will walk away from it unscathed. The director even begins the film with the end as we see a hooded figure placing cash in plastic covers and walking away with them. And, when we hear the ringtone in the hero's phone (the sound of gun shots), we instinctively understand that it will play a role at a later moment, which it does.
Still, as a first film, Damaal Dumeel is a worthy attempt. Right in the opening shot — a burning match falling down in slow motion and its flames engulfing a document — we realize that we are in the hands of a competent filmmaker and Shree keeps things moving at a brisk pace till the end. Even the romantic track is used only in small doses and the director doesn't allow a possible melancholic moment to linger. The actors who play the henchmen and the cop in Money's apartment are apt in their roles. Though both Kota Srinivasa Rao and Sayaji Shinde never convey any menace, we get some humour at their expense. Though, the film never becomes the sum of its interesting parts as the screwball nature of the plot isn't fully exploited. There is a nice point made in the end on how money can change a man overnight but it doesn't really come across as effectively as it should as Vaibhav, though he looks the part, is a little bland in the role; an actor with a better range would have conveyed Moneykandan's descent to the darker side in a much better way.