Meen Kuzhambum Man Paanayum – Laugh for all the wrong reasons!
– Ravi Kiran
Meen Kuzhambum Mann Panaiyum is a fantasy comedy drama set in Malaysia. Directed by Amudeshvar, it opens with elaborate visuals taken aerially by cinematographer Lakshman that makes the audience pang for visiting the South-East Asian country. These visuals end with Prabhu praying in front of the Lord Murugan statue at Batu Caves, Kuala Lumpur. That is when we realise, he is not just praying for himself and his motherless-son, but for also the audience who is watching this film.
The movie opens with a Kollywood version of a Fast and Furious meet Need For Speed car race, involving two rival college students. Karthik (Kalidas Jayaram) wins the race much to the delight of his girlfriend, Pavithra (Ashna Zaveri). Kalidas Jayaram, son of established actors Jayaram and Parvathy, marks his debut as a lead actor in this film. His voice seems to suggest that he is yet to come out of the ‘Cadbury Dairy Milk’ image. As Karthik, he carries the aggression and rudeness of a rich millennial kid. His father is Annamalai, played by Prabhu, a rich widower managing a restaurant that is famous for its ‘Meen Kuzhambu’ cooked in earthen pot. His affable and caring nature is mistaken by his son as melodramatic and old-fashioned. Y G Mahendran plays a close friend of Annamalai and invites the duo to his home. Enter Kamal Haasan, in a guest appearance, who plays a spiritual master and makes the duo reverse their roles to make the two understand what it is like to walk in the other’s shoes, quite literally.
While the sub-plot involving Annamalai and Karthik seems interesting, it doesn’t pan out convincingly. And when the director throws in Pooja Kumar (of Viswaroopam fame) as Mala Akka, a Malaysian don, things turn ridiculous. We could not help but laugh at her every time she utters Coffee as Kofi in that phoney- Anglo Indian- Tamil accent. She takes a liking for Annamalai. The scenes involving M S Bhaskar leave you in splits briefly owing to his splendid portrayal and body language. He is the gang leader to whom Mala Akka reports to. On the other hand, Pavithra’s parents played by Urvashi and ‘Thalaivasal’ Vijay are on the verge of a split and the role reversal done earlier between Annamalai and his son, Karthik help sort these issues out.
The songs and background score by D Imman are forgettable. While Prabhu, M S Bhaskar and Urvashi play their parts well, Kalidas Jayaram doesn’t appear convincing in the second half. Ashna Zaveri as Pavithra is either the clingy girlfriend or the rebellious trendy daughter.
Overall, this is a rather tedious watch laden with scenes where you are caught between laughing at the film or laughing hysterically at your own plight for choosing to watch this film.