Kavalai Vendam Movie Review

Mani Prabhu

Sitting through Deekay’s second film reminded me of something else. The nostalgia seemed familiar, but then it wasn’t the pleasant type. Something else was also very frustrating about it. It took me a few minutes to get it, but when I did, the ‘feeling’ made sense. You know that lazy Sunday afternoon when after a heavy meal, you slumped into the sofa as a teenager and almost robotically scanned the channels on TV. And you stumble upon this hilarious comedy sketch that is not funny as in ‘smart funny’, but yet you laugh out loud at the jokes that try real hard to be dirty. It’s not like you are impressed; but then, you can’t get yourself to change the channel too. You just watch, laughing along, waiting for the jokes to get better and the dirtiness to get murkier. After all, who could resist a serving of comical guilty pleasure, on the platter? And now, imagine an unwelcome member walking into the room, and you instinctively change the channel only to find yourself watching a wannabe-deep romantic comedy, where people are talking about celebrating life, love, purpose, and all that jazz about soul-mates. You know nothing about the characters, but you manage to sport a sympathetic face. And once the member walks out, you waste no time in swapping to the apparently adult comedy-sketch. You lose all context… all perspective. Who is who? Why are they doing that? But none of that matters. You start laughing again, this time more out of anticipating the ‘dirty’ aura, than the quality of jokes thrown at you. And as the member makes a return, its back to some blind gyan on break-up and second chances. You spend these moments almost pretending to be asleep, all the while cursing your fate.  Why can’t I just be left alone! Imagine this cycle repeating for a little more than two hours. Frustrating, right?

That’s how Kavalai Vendaam feels, despite the funny bits keeping you in suspended disbelief, patchily. Its like being caught between two threads that never really come together. The adult-comedy part is never really adult, but some stretches partly work. And we are talking of tummy rumbles, toilet humour, sexist jokes and lot of innuendos. Misogyny, stereotyping or insensitivity is never really a problem here, as most of this play out with a tongue-in-cheek irreverence. A sequence involving a boat caught in a whirlpool – shows, very briefly, glimpses of what Deekay can do in this hilarious space, but elsewhere, the man chickens out. A lot of suggestive dialogues elicit a sad laugh, not at the tasteful lewdness of it all, but at the juvenile attempts being made at ‘adult humour’. What’s the thing with our filmmakers agreeing for cuts (of not-so-ribald lines) to settle with the U/A tag? Is it okay to bring children along, so that these jokes could be be made sense of, if questioned? Why not just go all the way and give us the still-elusive, all-dirty adult-comedy! But despite all these ruses, this is the thread in KV that at least pulls us through.

Even while the disastrous romantic-drama unfolds simultaneously. Yes, I mean it. If there is one thing that runs consistently through the film’s running time, it’s the utter contempt for anything ‘rational’ or ‘logical’. Admittedly, that would work when you are operating in the absurd space with Balaji, Balasaravanan and Mayilsamy, but when you are making your female-lead fall in love with a seeming nut-crack (who proposes to her with soan-papdi as if he is saying hello), make her walk out of wedlock after months of courtship over an altercation over buying booze, and then bring her back to live with him just for getting divorce, well, your film is begging to be judged. The tag-line reads “A new-age romance”. If Deekay had really meant it, that would be the funniest joke of it all.