Synopsis: An overweight, young woman, who finds it hard to land a husband, learns to accept her 'Size Sexy' figure and leads an awareness campaign against a dubious slimness centre.
Review: Inji Iduppazhagi has mostly been in the news for its leading lady Anushka putting on the pounds to play the central character. Unlike their north Indian counterparts, fans in the south, especially in Tamil Nadu, have been more receptive to curvy heroines. But that seems to be changing these days — blame it on S(l)imran! — if one were to go by the number of slender leading ladies in Kollywood today (even Hansika, who started out as a chubby actress sports a slim look of late). So, in that sense, it is quite a risky move for a heroine, and Anushka does deserve credit for trying. She plays Soundarya aka Sweety, a cheerful, but overweight, young woman, and looks the part (though there is, at times, a discernible inconsistency in her figure from one scene to the next). Initially, she doesn't seem right for the role, especially when she has to act bubbly (she has always seemed to be a somewhat mature presence), but gradually, wins us over with the earnestness in her sweet-natured performance.
That is true of the film as well, to a certain extent. It takes us a while to settle down to its uneven rhythm. The plot revolves around Sweety's inability (or rather her mother's) to find a suitable match, and her falling for the hunky Abhishek (Arya), a documentary filmmaker and one of the prospective grooms who land at her doorstep. Initially, she rejects him, mainly to savour the idea of her rejecting someone for a change, but the two develop a friendly relationship. And just as she starts developing feelings for Abhi, he falls for Simran, a slim-figured social worker, leaving Sweety dejected. Meanwhile, her mother compels her to enroll in Size Zero, the new slimness centre that is the talk of the town. When her friend Jyothi, who's also a Size Zero member, ends up in the hospital, Sweety learns that it is due to the dubious practices that the centre uses to help its clients slim down. With help from Abhi, Sweety starts an awareness campaign, much to the chagrin of Size Zero's owner Satyanand. Does she win in this battle? Does Abhi realize her love for him?
The problem with Inji Iduppazhagi is that the script exhibits a split personality and the tone fluctuates between the feel-good and the over-the-top. And for long sections in the second half, the focus shifts from Sweety's journey and the film turns into a fitness commercial (complete with appearances from numerous) film stars. It is a blatant attempt to sell us a 'message' (which should, ideally, have been subtly conveyed in the course of telling the story), and the film spends too much time on this segment. Also, because it has been shot as a bilingual, the film is unable to get the milieu right. The dialogues, while witty in places, feel like they were translated into Tamil from another language, while the line readings by the actors don't feel natural. Given the large number of non-Tamil faces and the fact that even Anushka's voice is dubbed (by Deepa Venkat), there are times when we are unable to shake off the feeling that we are watching a dubbed film. In this sense, it reminds you of Aaha Kalyanam, another Tamil-Telugu bilingual that didn't feel local enough. And in the climax, it falls into a cliche trap of its own making and gives us the umpteenth instance of a well-meaning guy being cruelly dumped at the altar, so that the leads can have their 'happy ending'.
But despite these issues, the film manages to be engaging enough. It also gets the feel-good moments right. The fairytale-ish segments (in a nice visual touch, the frames freeze whenever Sweety has a life-changing experience) and the moments that showcase Sweety's cheery and helpful nature are done right, like her emotional dependence on fortune cookie messages to cheer herself and spread love. The senior actors like Urvashi, Prakash Raj and Gollapudi Maruti Rao register in their supporting roles and help us instantly get their characters. And for once, it is refreshing to find the hero gamely playing second fiddle to the heroine. And refreshingly, the film doesn't shy away from portraying him as the object of desire, much like how heroines are typically presented in the other films.