Gopi, a photographer, and Azhagu, his assistant, get stuck in Mundasupatti, a village where having photographs taken is bad omen. And, Gopi falls for Kalaivani, the village headman's daughter who is about to get married...
is one heady cocktail when it comes to the genres that the film dabbles in. It is a sci-fi (a meteorite hits a village), a rural drama (the meteorite becomes the deity of a village), a mystery (the space rock goes missing), a period film (the story happens in 1982, with a prelude set in 1947), and of course, there is a romance as well. But it is primarily a comedy. Director Ram Kumar, who is the latest promising find from the TV show
, certainly knows how to end a joke with a punchline. In an early scene, we see Gopi, the film's protagonist, lining up a family which has come to his photo studio to have their photograph taken. As he is about to click, his assistant Azhagumani comes with tickets to a newly-released film (this time, it isn't Rajinikanth and
, the usual touchstones for period films set in the 80s, but Kamal Haasan and
), and the two scoot off without taking the photograph to the theatre. But the joke doesn't end there. We see the Gopi and Azhagu having a gala time at the cinema and it is only when they return to the studio in the night, we get the final part of this joke — the family is still there holding their pose! If we had merely been smiling at Gopi's travails in getting the family to pose in the earlier segment, now, we instantly burst into a laugh.
Naduvula Konjam Pakkatha Kaanom
, too, is built on a one-note premise — a village and its peculiar superstitions (having photographs taken is bad omen, a deity and the place's lucky charm; if it was a horse that is deified in
, here, a space rock becomes Vaana Muni) — and the variations on this single theme. We laugh when we see that the villagers allow only their dead to be photographed and frame and hang these photos on their walls in memory of the departed. We laugh when we see them refusing to even be in the room when a photograph is being taken. We laugh when both a husband and wife bribe the hero to take a photograph of their spouse so that he/she will depart. And, we laugh when they run for their lives when the hero brandishes the camera when he is being chased.
Fortunately, the gags and jokes don't come at the expense of the filmmaking, as it so often happens in our comedies, which seem flatly shot and hastily staged. Here, there is enough craft on display to make us appreciate the aesthetics, like the sequence where Gopi and Azhagu outwit the henchmen of a zamindar (who hopes to steal the invaluable meteorite for an Englishman), which is stylishly staged. The cheerful score and the lovely camerawork only enhance the effect.
The actors, too, are up to the task. Vishnu Vishal, who was last seen in
(2012), shows that he has a flair for comedy as well and makes Gopi very relatable. As his sidekick, Kaali Venkat is a scene stealer, while, Ramadas, despite being a little over-the-top, keeps the laughs coming as the wannabe film star Munishkanth. His reaction when he realizes that he has been duped by Gopi and Azhagu is hilarious. Nandita doesn't have much to do but veteran Anandaraj makes a fine return to the screen as the impotent zamindar. His character keeps numerous cats in his place and you will definitely chuckle when you know why.
Agreed the film is a tad overlong (the climax is clearly extended for the sake of packing in a few more jokes) and some of the comedy feels repetitive but Ram Kumar manages to keep things playful and entertaining at all times (even a scene where a thief is meted out punishment is treated in a lighter vein) that we look past some of the indulgences.