by Mani Prabhu
Between 1986 and 1991, Ramarajan featured as the show-stopper in 33 Tamil films, most of which turned out to be super-hits for reasons which remain unexplained till date. But, little would we have guessed that his record might one day be challenged – not by Rajini or Kamal – but by the white-saree-clad Kollywood ghost of all! What the rural drama was to Ramarajan in the late 80s, the horror comedy seems to be to these mottled spirits in the present stint. And continuing the trend this week is Rambhala’s Dhilluku Dhuddu, which has Santhanam playing the man tackling the dissolving ghosts. The trailers hinted at a hilarious spoof of the genre, but the film once again falls flat on its face, dishing out only a meager fraction of what was promised.
To begin with, Rambhala wants to give Santhanam a heroic makeover that doesn’t augur well with the film’s mood. In typical Kollywood tradition, he writes an insipid love track where the North Indian heroine (who struts around giving the I-have-been-told-to-smile look) wants to marry Santhanam just because she had a crush on him when she was twelve. We get flashy songs, a refurbished ward-robe for Santhanam, sincerely choreographed fights and the scheming father, but we are not told what the hero does for a living. Or neither do we get a clue on the supposed romance between the lead pair. Okay, if we are not supposed to bother about any of these, why waste so much time in getting to the main conflict?
And we finally get there, the film only attempts to come alive, in vain. We are almost exhausted. A couple of ideas are hilarious, but the staging is mostly mediocre. Not even a single scene that wasn’t already revealed in the trailer manages to elicit a convincing chuckle. And so again, for the nth consecutive week, we get a film that fails to capitalize on the terrific premise on paper. Why not chuck the usual rhyming jokes and play around more on the spoof angle? Imagine the hilarious fireworks that could have been possible when a group attempting to set up a sham ghost attack get busted by real ghosts! And think of Rajendran as the man orchestrating the simulated spirit scares! But what we get in ‘Dhilluku Dhuddhu’ are five minutes of hilarious mayhem and may be a handful of funny one-liners. What to make of the remaining two hours then? Should we just be thankful that it is not in the unbearable zone?