Pakka Review: A snoozefest that should not have been made
The film just feels like a bunch of set pieces slapped together
It’s been over an hour since I got out of the theatre after watching this... film? I suppose I have to call it that. And the only thing that’s still ringing in my head is, why? Why was this film made? Who thought it would be a good idea to inflict this upon unsuspecting viewers? It’s hard to decide what genre Pakka belongs to. I refuse to call it an entertainer. You could call it a comedy, but that’s only because there are a lot of comedians in it, who all spout lines that rhyme (Naan Brahmin illa, sura meen). That, as everyone knows, is often the highest form of comedy in our cinema.
Cast: Vikram Prabhu, Nikki Galrani, Bindhu Madhavi
Director: SS Surya
The film is basically made up of two love stories — one for each half. Vikram Prabhu plays a dual role and features in both. In the first half, Bindu Madhavi plays a rich girl, Nadiya, who falls in love with Pandi, a guy who goes around from village to village selling dolls at thiruvizhas. It’s the most insipid love story I’ve seen in a long time. Nadiya loses Pandi and stumbles on the other Vikram Prabhu character, who has no relation whatsoever to the first one (it’s one of those seven-people-out-there-who-look-like-you things). He promises to help her find her lover and then somehow ends up telling her his own love story with Nikki Galrani.
Now, based on the trailer, I was hoping against hope that this portion would be somewhat more interesting. The guy is called Dhoni Kumar and the girl is called Rajini Radha, and the latter seemed to have some amount of spunk. But nope. Nikki sure does toss her hair around in slow motion a lot, and does her best imitation of Rajini, but that’s about it. For all her I’m-as-good-as-a-man talk, she, too, gets relegated to being rescued by the hero and falling for him consequently. There’s also plenty of sexism and double entendres. The most engaging part of the film is actually stock footage from the 2015 Cricket World Cup featuring Dhoni (Dhoni Kumar is a hardcore Dhoni fan if you hadn’t guessed already). Sadly, they only show it for a few seconds at a time, interrupted by more crude comedy.
You know how everyone always complains about songs being force fit into films and breaking up the flow of the story? Well, for once, I was actually yearning for songs if only to serve as a break from the vapid proceedings on screen. But even in this, the makers haven’t been kind; there are only two duets.
After almost nothing happening for what seems like forever, the final act suddenly has too much going on. And yet, none of it really makes an impact. I wonder if, instead of trying to stuff two stories into one film, the director would have been better off just taking one of them and making a full film out of it. Because really, the worst of it is that Pakka just feels like a bunch of set pieces slapped together. There’s zero character development and so nothing that happens to them makes you feel anything (I actually laughed out loud at a critical juncture that was clearly meant to be tragic).
When the climax finally came around, I heaved a sigh of relief, but alas! The assault on my sensibilities wasn’t over just yet. As if to cap all the sexism and crassness in the film, the makers decided to end it with a huge dollop of racism — a horrid mess of a stereotype aimed at Japanese people that came out of the blue. And again, I was left with the question, why? It’s a question I will be asking for a while.