Synopsis: A man who wants a modern girl for a wife unwillingly marries a village girl. What happens when the girl is possessed by the ghost of an aspiring actress?
Review: Given that we have been seeing a spate of horror comedies for the past few years, it is a pleasant surprise that Devi(L) feels unique. As he did with Saivam, Vijay gives us a story that is quite simple and at the same time empathetic. In fact, on the surface level, its central conceit shares a similarity with the recent Naayagi —a girl who had aspirations of becoming an actress making her dreams come true as a ghost. But the film also exposes the later for the tedious farce it was.
Here, Krishna (Prabhdheva), who lives in Mumbai and dreams of marrying a city girl, is forced by his family into a marriage with Devi (Tamannaah), a girl in his village. He brings her to Mumbai and moves into a new house, which is actually haunted by Ruby, the ghost of a small-time model who wanted to be an actress. When Ruby takes over Devi to achieve her dream, Krishna, enters into a contract with the ghost to protect his wife.
For a film that has a ghost, Devi(L) is completely devoid of scares. Instead, Vijay plays up the weirdness in a man finding that his wife has literally turned into a ghost. And he gives us one superbly realised scene filled with visual pyrotechnics that shows how Krishna has no escape from his situation. He also avoids giving us a flashback for the ghost and instead manages to effectively convince us of Ruby’s aspiration through a few lines of dialogue alone. And despite dealing with a triangular romance, he doesn’t make the third person — the film star Raj Khanna (Sonu Sood), who develops a soft corner for his heroine — a jerk.
But given that the film has been made a trilingual, the milieu doesn’t always feel right and puts us off in certain scenes. And Vijay gives us just a little too much of the Raj Khanna scenes (perhaps because Sonu Sood is one of the film’s producers).
But if Devi(L) works as well as it does, credit should go to its two lead actors give out winning performances that we cannot help be charmed. Though it is initially very difficult to buy into Tamannaah’s plain Jane act, the actress manages to make us care for Devi, and comes into her own as the modern Ruby. Prabhudheva’s casting is a masterstroke. He has always flourished as an actor while playing characters caught in a Catch-22 situation (think Kadhala Kadhala or Naam Iruvar Nammaku Iruvar), and here, his mimic-like expressions and nimbleness enhance the comic element in the scenes. RJ Balaji, as his sidekick, is equally good, and their scenes together are so funny that we wish Vijay had given them a few more scenes sacrificing one or two of the monotonous songs, which stick out like a sore thumb.