Synopsis: A fake shaman and his family find themselves trapped in a dilapidated palace, which is under the control of an evil ghost.
Review: Kaashmora is the latest film to ride the horror comedy wave, which seems to have no breaking point. The film contains the usual horror comedy tropes, but presents them all in a slightly different way, and at a grander scale, which makes it feel different, even though it is essentially an old wine in a new, big-budget bottle.
The plot revolves around Kaashmora (Karthi), a fake shaman, who along with his family, has managed to turn exorcism into a bustling business. A corrupt politician (Sharath Lohitashwa), who thinks that he is the real deal, chooses to hide his ill-gotten wealth in their home fearing an IT raid. The family flees with the loot. But they find themselves trapped inside a dilapidated palace, under the control of the ghost of Raj Nayak (Karthi), a malevolent commander, who has been waiting to settle a centuries-old score with Rathnamahadevi (Nayanthara), his princess, whose curse is responsible for his present fate.
As we saw in Idharkudhaane Aasaipattai Balakumara, Gokul has a flair for comedy, and just as he had Vijay Sethupathi in that film, here, he has Karthi, a leading man who can effortlessly make the audience laugh. The actor holds the film together, even in its weaker moments. The scenes which reveal the modus operandi of Kaashmora and his family (the film is a return-to-form for Vivekh, who plays his father), and the elaborate set-up they have in their home to make the gullible fall for their tricks leave you in splits, and the laughs only increase when the family gets trapped in Raj Nayak’s palace when they run into a land broker (who, disappointingly manages to vanish in the final scenes).
The flashback portion in the second half is new ground for Gokul, and the director impresses here by giving us grandeur that doesn’t feel tacky, with help from cinematographer Om Prakash, art director Rajeevan and the VFX team. Even though Raj Nayak is a warrior, he refreshingly presents him not as a six-pack stallion, but as a bald, bearded, heavyset man. Karthi is good in this role as well, but it is Nayanthara who steals the show in these scenes, despite her limited screen time. Though her costumes look somewhat modern and rather out of place, the actress makes up for it with screen presence.
That said, Gokul’s filmmaking is quite indulgent as he seems to be enamoured of the visual pyrotechnics in his scenes. Shots are held longer than necessary (and in slow motion) and scenes extend longer than they should (one stunt scene on a mountain goes on and on). The film certainly feels over-long, and more than the editor, it is the director who has to take blame because the script also is over-written. For example, the character of Sri Divya, who appears as Yamini, a girl who tries to expose Kaashmora and joins his team for that purpose, feels underwritten and even unnecessary. But Gokul makes up for such lapses in the climax, where the heroine has a larger role in rescuing the family than even the hero!