Capmaari movie review: A has-been director's desperation to be relevant
The director’s lack of understanding of modern romance and his problematic perspectives are not the only problems with Capmaari. The pressing issue here is the misreading of the genre of adult comedy
The opening credits of Capmaari has a title card that thanks ‘Kama Sutra Puththagam’. There is nothing ostensibly funny about giving credit to an ancient erotic text, but the joke here is supposedly not in what’s being said but in who is saying it. And the ‘who’ is the 74-year old director SA Chandrasekharan. If this is the kind of humour you dig, Capmaari is your treasure trove.
A few minutes into the film, we get a disjointed scene that has the director playing a cameo as a cop. He stops Jai for driving his bike with two girls on the pillion but the hero spouts some lame joke and races away. The constable urges SAC to gun him down. The director instead shoots down his subordinate and says, “Sudu sudunaan, adhaan suttutaen.” He then adds something about letting a young man have some fun. This film is about the director trying to be relevant and ‘cool’.
Capmaari has Jai, an IT professional, sleeping around and guzzling down litres of beer. He meets Jenny (Vaibhavi Shandilya) on a train journey. She is his only co-passenger in the coupe - something that can happen only in Tamil cinema. He offers her beer and drops some bad pick-up lines like ‘Neengalum hottu Chennaiyum hottu’ but it works - something that can happen only in Tamil cinema. They end up having sex. Later, we see some off-the-shelf characters in Jai’s office and one of them is Varsha (Athulya Ravi), who is crazy about Jai but the playboy doesn’t get her hints.
Somehow, in a turn of events, Jai gets married to Jenny and yet, gets Varsha pregnant. He has to manage his life with the two women, who refuse to leave him because they just 'love' him. There is nothing lovable about this hero, who clearly has an alcohol problem, who won’t move a thing at home, slaps a pregnant woman and throws her out of the house, cheats, and lies. But from the perspective of SAC, all of this is ‘cool’ and funny.
The director’s lack of understanding of modern romance and his problematic perspectives are not the only problems with Capmaari. The pressing issue here is the misreading of the genre of adult comedy. Here’s a film about modern men and women, who can’t say the word ‘condom’. In the Capmaari universe, it’s a ‘C’ word no one utters. There are euphemisms for it though, and the hero likes to call it ‘gloves’ and we are supposed to laugh.
The film’s intentions are also confusing. There is a scene where the heroine lectures about the side effects of contraceptive pills and there is also a bad joke about the #MeToo movement. A progressive conversation between the lead couple about equality is canceled out by the scenes of Jenny toiling alone in the kitchen. The ubiquitous romanticisation of alcohol consumption contradicts the end title card that reads “Alcohol consumption is injurious to life.” As I was leaving the movie hall with these muddled messages, I overheard someone saying ‘youngsters will like it’. I wanted to say, ‘OK Boomer’.