Udhayam NH4- Not a Review- அட சத்தியமா இல்லைங்கோ’ன்னா
Stars – 5 star/dairy milk/alpenliebe/kinderjoy.
Last Saturday an old friend turned up suddenly and insisted we go to a movie. When i demurred pleading an earlier appointment, he rode roughshod over my protestations and dragged me off to watch a movie called Settai- the Tamil remake of Delhi belly. But last minute movie plans always have a hitch in them, namely you dont get tickets at the counter. In these days of online booking, nobody gets to watch a movie on a whim anymore, everyone picks their tickets and seats a week earlier online and pays by credit card. The unfortunate few who want to watch a movie unplanned have to either watch it on pirated DVDs or stream them online from torrent sites. Does the movie industry which always bleats about the issue of piracy ever realize that they are the ones who are encouraging the trend by totally denying tickets over the counter? Except for flop films which have no takers? For that is what precisely happened to us. The movie we wanted to see was house full and there was not a single ticket available over the counter. And my friend who was in the mood to watch a movie, any movie, rather than go back home disappointed made a bad and instantaneous decision to get tickets for a film which had released just the day before and was already running to empty- and hence with tickets available in plenty at the counter. And that’s how i ended up at PVR cinemas watching the movie – Udhayam NH4, starring Sidharth as hero, Kay kay Menon as villain and a new face as heroine.
As readers of my blog know, when it comes to films i am a total fan boy. I am the guy who hoots and whistles when the hero stamps his foot on the ground and causes an earthquake which sends a dozen ruffians flying into the air. I am the kind who claps continuously for punch dialogues and repeats them to everyone in casual conversations. As such, I never go to any movie with a critics eye and to note down with pen and paper all the faults I can spot. With me, it’s the other way around, all I want is to be entertained, just paisa vasool for my ticket price. If you keep me from getting bored for the next two hours, I always give five stars. But even so some movies baffle me and make me scratch my head on why they were ever made. I mean it must have cost a bunch of money and taken a lot of time and work and sweat to make the movie. If so why didn’t someone take a good hard look at the script before deciding? Did they find this script in the back of some old cupboard where it had been lost away for twenty years or more and suddenly decide to make it?
For make no mistake, Udhyam-NH4 has such a jaded look that it looks like the movie must have been made way back in the early nineties but released now. I don’t know how that’s possible but I make a guess that maybe the hero, heroine and director decided to make a period film and to make it all the more authentic they went back in a time machine to the nineties and actually made it with a nineteen nineties script. That would explain a lot of things about this movie. Like how the characters speak on screen and wait for the next few minutes till the sounds come from out of the time warp- cool special effects i must say- delaying the dialogue and making it non-sync with the actors. Or like the fact that Actor Sidharth plays a seventeen year old, first year engineering college student. Or like the fact that when a seventeen year old boy (the hero’s) legal guardian (his elder sister) advises him to lift the girl (the heroine) and bring her home where she can stay as a guest till they both finish their education, get a job and then marry- however many long years it took for them both. Seriously? A sister like that? In this time and age?
Which brings me to the lifting dialogue. The very first dialogue in this movie is about a group of people advising the hero to “lift” the girl. And at regular intervals in various points of the movie right till the end, the same dialogue gets repeated often, everyone around talking about “lifting” the girl as if she was a pair of old dumbbells at the gym. Close your eyes for a bit drift off for a few minutes and chances are the first dialogue which penetrates your ear when you wake up is “avala thookanum” or lifting her (I lost count after the 77th time).. The way various people talk about lifting her might confuse one into wondering whether they are referring to a human being or about cattle lifting.
Ok, I don’t want to turn into one of “those” critics and keep pointing out just the negatives. Are there no positives in this movie? i can hear you ask. And so i answer yes, a lot of them, if you can fit this movie into the category of a spoof film and not a serious film, if you enjoyed meet the Spartans after watching 300 or if you enjoyed scary movie after watching the exorcist, then you would definitely love this film- it’s a total laugh riot, an out and out comedy film if you can just spot the sly humor. This film spoofs college life movies on so many levels that i find it hard to pick out just one or two instances. For example, all college students spend every single day drinking alcohol and love happens in first day orientation in class, and seventeen year olds run away to get married but wait till the clock strikes eighteen and they become major. The humorous scenes run on and on, more fun for the fact that the director has hidden them under serious scenes and springs it on to you suddenly when you least expect.
But the best humor is reserved for the last scene- the climax, where a tough encounter specialist who has been chasing the eloping pair throughout the movie (which takes over two days/48 hours to get from Bangalore to Chennai- which normally is a 5 hour journey for you and me) and the cop finally corners the pair on a deserted and empty road (the NH4 in the title of the movie) in the middle of the night and just as he is about to kill the boy and take the girl back to her politician father, the alarm beeps in the hero’s mobile, he pulls it out and sees the time and says to the cop “its twelve’o clock, she has turned eighteen, she is a major now and you can’t do anything” and the fearsome villain cop, puts his gun back into his pocket and walks away without a glance back, leaving the love pair to kiss happily and credits roll for the end of the film. I rolled out of the theater laughing too and wondering whether i should really be ROFL’ng – roll n the floor (the aisles) with laughter?
(P.s…This is a heartfelt request to all the new wave directors and film makers of Tamil cinema…I know you are all born geniuses and education would have hampered your creativity and so you chose not to get a formal college education. But please do visit some college campuses and talk to real life college students next time you decide to make a movie based on college life. Reality in college is quite different from what you have heard. Not all college students drink or do drugs daily. And not all college students fall in love and marry their classmates compulsorily. Sometimes they even fall in love with their juniors or seniors or even students from other colleges also. College education is hard and filled with big, big, books and regular exams and students do occasionally study too. OK boss?)