Zombie Movie Review: When the jokes are scarier than the zombies
A lazily written comedy salvaged by a splendid Yogi Babu
To laugh, or not to laugh, that is the question. This question kept popping up in my mind while watching Bhuvan Nullan's Zombie. The moment a film starts with a health advisory about smoking and drinking by Bijili Ramesh, you know it's one that doesn't take itself seriously, and neither should we. But despite this approach, Zombie disappointed me within the next few minutes. We know we've signed up for a lazily-written film when its principal character is introduced with these golden words: Ivaru dhaanga namba hero.
Cast: Yogi Babu, Gopi, Sudhakar, Yashika Aannand, Anbu
Director: Bhuvan Nullan
And the incessant cliches that follow ensure that our hypothesis is indeed foolproof. During a particular scene, Gowtham (Anbu), who is initially portrayed as a mobile game addict for no reason, disinterestedly asks a prospective bride, "Aada theriyuma?" (meaning the games he plays), but she misunderstands and changes from saree to glittery shorts and does a mini aadalum paadalum (record dance) show in front of him. Such horrendous wordplays in the name of humour are way scarier than the zombies which make an appearance much later in the film.
The record dance reference does not end there. Doctor Aishwarya (Yashika Aannand), the only one aware of the zombie virus, out of the blue wears revealing glitter costumes and does her version of the aadalum paadlum performance in a pub. That's just the tip of the iceberg. The only 'intellectual' idea she gives the squad to evade the zombies is asking the men to wear women's clothes.
The zombies, for their part, match this survivor squad in clumsiness. The junior artistes who play these zombies seem to have been given no instructions and so, they aimlessly roam around (some even go on a casual walk) with absolutely no clarity on what to do. When a gang of them surround the SUV of the lead cast, they do the Jinthatha jintha jintha step of Siruthai Karthi, without actually attacking them.
Despite being made this awkwardly, the visuals of Zombie are as gory as any Hollywood film. I seriously doubt if underage kids (who will no doubt turn up to watch the film given it's only rated U/A) can digest the blood-soaked puke-worthy visuals. The other thing that left me puzzled was the background score. After a point, I began to wonder whether the film actually had any original compositions; most of theme music for the lead characters are lifted straight from hit films.
It is safe to say that Yogi Babu has joined the league of actors who get lauded for their performances in not-so-good films. Every time he shares screen space with the other actors, the gap between their performances is harshly evident; he effortlessly tickles our funny bones, while the others struggle with all their might.
Some dialogues do make us giggle, but it feels like these were added during the dubbing phase. I could almost picture the director saying, "Nee vaya mattum aattu, naan dubbing la dialogue paathukuren," like the TP Gajendran does when shooting the Sivaperuman sequence in Pammal K Samandham. For instance, during a scene where Yashika asks everyone to jump out of the window, she mouths, "Jump panni gudhinga." We know that a zombie is a brainless creature. Should the audience watching the film be also treated as one too?