Bodha Review: A baffling change of genres wrecks this quirky film
The absence of a screenplay worthy of a crime thriller couple with wooden performances from supporting cast doesn't help this film either
The trailer of Bodha hinted at a film about gigolos. Or in the words of its lead, Madhan (Vicky), "aambala item". This is another attempt in an industry that’s getting more and more experimental in the stories it tells. I liked that Bodha talks about sex work in a matter-of-fact way. Take the moment when Madhan reveals to Karthick (Mippu) that he is in this profession and that the biggest worry in his mind is how shameful it will be if his mother gets to know about this. Or the time when he has to sleep with a much older woman, who isn't as beautiful as the woman he has so far been with. His face contorts, he is in anguish, and tries to leave. But once the woman shows him the money, he puts on a straight face and gets on with it. He doesn’t judge, or deliver any sermons over women indulging in extra marital pleasures.
Cast: Vicky, Mippu, Vinoth, Eshwar, Udhayabanu, Shanmuga Sundaram
Director: Suresh G
The story is light and engaging during these portions and is ably supported by music director Siddharth Vipin (of Idharkudhaane Aasaipattai Balakumara fame). It takes the better part of the first half hour for the film to get set up. The reason why Madhan does what he does is straightforward. He wants to be a cinema hero but isn't able to get opportunities. He requires money to make his dream come true, and so becomes a gigolo. Credit should go to Vicky for doing a good job selling us this idea, and some of his mannerism, coupled with his looks, reminded me a bit of Vijay Sethupathi during his Nalaya Iyakkunar/Pizza days.
The problem with Bodha comes when the film veers off from this light-hearted section into a whodunit. A famous film that follows a very similar storyline is American Gigolo written and directed by Paul Schrader. But regardless of whether this film was indeed inspired by the Hollywood film, Bodha fails as a standalone product because of the absence of a screenplay worthy of a crime thriller. Also, this quirky comedy deserved better lines and the film would have quite benefitted from having a better dialogue writer. The quirkiest character in the film is someone called a Temple Runner who is always running, at all places and at all times, silently scaring the bejesus out of everyone. This quirkiness aside, almost all of the supporting cast deliver wooden performances.
Bodha is a film about money and what people do for it. It’s too bad the film isn't good enough to justify the money you part with to see it.