Vadacurry visitor review

Vadacurry visitor review

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A medical representative (Jai) stumbles on a drug racket and tries to wriggle out of it—this is the kernel of Vadacurry, directed by Saravana Rajan (has worked with Venkat Prabhu in the past). This kernel, just like the eponymous Vadacurry, is unrecognisably spiced by a bunch of other things: a romantic track that includes a paragraph of sketchy dialogue on sexual abuse, an iPhone fixation that never really rings true, a climax lifted straight out of a 90s movie where the comedian provides comic relief through his antics, and songs (Vivek Shiva-Mervin Solomon) that are interesting set pieces but do nothing for the film (especially the one that takes place inside an iPhone).

Jai is a medical representative with a cellphone that embarrasses him. His friends (headed by RJ Balaji) believe that only someone with an expensive cellphone (an iPhone at least) can hope to find love; they herd him out to a store and buy him a Korean cellphone that fits right his budget. This launches Jai into a song, which is actually a dream in which he is surrounded by women like Sunny Leone lusting after him. This song is notable for its lyrics whose chameleonic aspects I struggle to express in words: one that immediately comes to mind is— exploitative. This phone has only one volume setting: ridiculously loud; and, it doesn’t have a silent mode. This leads to several comic situations. In any case, the first half is intended to be an exposition on the principles of vaudeville. In this period, over a sum total of about 15 well-spaced out minutes, a slender plot is developed. Jai pinches an iPhone. He ultimately feels guilty after he hears his MGR-worshipping brother ruminate on how stealing and begging are the two cardinal sins. So, he tries to return it. This gets him tangled up in a drug racket. At this point, the film actually begins for those who did not come exclusively for Sunny Leone and RJ Balaji’s wisecracks. The rest of the film is about how he deals with the situation and who really heads the racket.

Post-interval, the film functions as a comedy thriller that uses dub-step music to compensate for the lack of a taut plot. Rajan’s mentor Venkat Prabhu (who, incidentally, plays Jai’s manager in the film) made engaging and funny thrillers; but because it derived from the characters’ personalities, the comedy never got in the way of storytelling: regular reactions of regular people were funny in a thriller. Vadacurry is confused about whether it wants to be a comedy or a thriller. It ends up riding primarily on RJ Balaji’s puns and first-syllable replacement comedy (most which are quite ordinary—Aamavaavadhu nomavaavadhu). His gags, especially when he is held captive by the villain, are priceless.

Jai, who plays the endearing young man in the first half, spills the same mood over into the second and decimates a lot of dramatic potential. He is definitely not helped by a script that wants him to do an edgy scene, then a funny scene, then a sort of a romantic scene, without any real logic—and then make it work. Jai’s love interest (played by Swati Reddy) is perfunctory; they are a match made in heaven: post-climax, she gifts him an iPhone (vide iPhone fixation above).

Right near the beginning, RJ Balaji’s breaks through the fourth wall and declares that though his character is called Vadacurry, this fact has nothing to do with the name of the film. So, the title must metaphorically refer to the film itself.

Recipe for Vadacurry:

One thriller plot is taken. It is then mixed with topical comedy about what girls want from guys (hint: iPhones). This is sautéed for thirty minutes. This mishmash is then marinated in a concoction of one-liners, puns, witticisms (add to taste), one spoon MGR sentiment, a huge dollop of Sunny Leone (for spice) and finally, one-thousandth of a teaspoon of what passes for feminism in Tamil films (compensates for the spice and helps digestion). This potpourri is then heated on slow flame until a fruity odor—that masks the aroma of the thriller—is detected: Vadacurry is ready. (Serves any number of people who are looking to pass the time for two hours.)

Ashutosh Mohan

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