Triples Series Review: A Crazy-long, mirthless romcom
This web-series never amounts to anything more than mundane chatter between cardboard characters
The main characters of Disney Hotstar’s Triples go by names like Maadhu, Cheenu, Mythili and Janaki. You hear these names; you think of Crazy Mohan—such is the impact of the late actor-writer’s contribution to the Tamil comedy scene. Somewhere early in the first episode of this eight-episode web-series, Ram (Jai) and friends borrow money from a loan shark named Baby Chettaa, and proceed to open a coffee shop called Kalakkitta Da (do I need to explain the pun?). The said Chettaa, before lending his money, says he’s like a bank. Ram and friends smile in relief. But then Chettaa wears his face of menace and takes a deep breath meant to increase the effect of his punchline and clarifies that he is a ‘blood bank’. That’s among the earliest signs that this web-series that lasts around three-and-a-half hours in all, aims to replicate the word humour made so famous in Crazy Mohan comedies. The world of Triples too is seemingly influenced by the Crazy Mohan universe, replete with chaos and mistaken identity, and of course, a complicated end in which all the important characters gather to scamper like restless rats. The problem is—and it’s a big one—the dialogues are mirthless, the situations generic and predictable. Pampers get thrown into handbags, there are sexual innuendoes concerning shoes and socks, digs are aimed at the RCB cricket team, and there are even car chases and convenient coincidences to spice up proceedings… but this web-series never amounts to anything more than mundane chatter between cardboard characters.
Director: Charukesh Sekar
Cast: Jai, Vani Bhojan, Vivek Prasanna, Rajkumar
There’s a sensitive topic at the heart of all the forced chaos: about a married couple, Ram and Meera (Vani Bhojan) and how their inability to bear a child results in familial criticism. However, in its increasingly desperate attempts to be funny, the series is never able to truly descend into the reality of such a complex conflict and leave you at a distance from these central characters. Jai’s Ram is particularly unlikeable as a selfish, self-pitying weakling of a man who somehow still manages to get two women fawning over him. Meera has plenty of reason to hold a lifetime grudge against him, including his inability to stand for her against ruthless family members and for how quickly he jumps into another marriage, but these areas never come up for discussion in a meaningful way, buried as they are under an avalanche of bad humour.
Towards the end of the series, all the main characters travel to Goa and seem to be having a lot of fun at our expense. By then, you realise that the problem is not the basic recipe of Triples, which comprises essential ingredients for an enjoyable romcom: situational and word humour, a love triangle, a sensitive conflict, fringe characters with purpose, happy ends for all characters… The problem is none of these ingredients work: The jokes don’t amuse, the sentiment doesn’t move, the situations feel contrived…
And above all, the content doesn’t feel like it was designed for a web-series. The ends and beginnings of the episodes betray the awkwardness of a feature film getting chopped and stretched to accommodate the episodic format structure. Also, at over three hours of running time, it makes you feel like you could watch and watch the numbing attempts at wordplay, and the pain won't ever stop. A girl in the third episode of this series, titled The Wedding Crashers, is caught in the middle of an embarrassing trashtalk exchange between Ram and a police officer. Her single comment pretty much summarised my entire response to this web-series: “Maathi maathi mokka podaathinga.”