Biskoth Movie Review: Santhanam shoulders an inconsistent fantasy comedy
As long as it plays to Santhanam's strengths, Biskoth just about manages to stay crisp. However, there is only so much Santhanam and his trusted aides can do
There is no doubt that it was the hit television show, Lollu Sabha, that made Santhanam a household name. The joke-a-minute format and the 'counter' culture of the show was best suited for someone like Santhanam whose quick wit is his USP. After a long reign as the top comedian of his time, when Santhanam decided to shift gears and play the lead, he played to his strengths. There were the never-ending jibes, the assembly line of 'counters' and unabashed humour where anything and everything was par for the course. Whenever one of his slightly experimental hero ventures wasn't received well, he returned to the vicinity of the Lollu Sabha territory. With Biskoth, Santhanam not just returns to the vicinity but firmly plonks himself right at the centre of it, and gives us a 100-minute spoof show that is also a faithful remake/ripoff of Adam Sandler's Bedtime Stories.
Cast: Santhanam, Tara Alisha Berry, Sowcar Janaki, Anandraj
To be honest, Santhanam is probably the best choice for reimagining Adam Sandler films for the Tamil audience. There is a sense of nonchalant irreverence that both actors bring to their films, and when on song, both of them are a hoot. While Bedtime Stories was about a hotel not being handed down to its rightful owner, Biskoth is about a biscuit company that doesn't get passed on down to Raja (Santhanam), the son of its original owner Dharmaraj (Aadukalam Naren). Here too, there is a stand-in Chairman (Anandraj) and an additional claimant to complicate things. If Bedtime Stories had two kids being the ones with precise prediction skills, Biskoth has Sowcar Janaki, in her 400th appearance, to do the needful. Every story narrated by Sowcar Janaki comes true, and this in turn helps Raja get closer to that coveted position of the GM of the company Magic Biscuits. It is in imagining these stories that we see Santhanam and Kannan spoof films like Baahubali, 300, Billa, etc... While the Baahubali portions are a hoot, not all jibes land the punch. Nevertheless, Santhanam and his trusted aides — Rajendran, Lollu Sabha Manohar — manages to elicit a laugh even with the most inane of lines. It is this pinpoint delivery and mindlessness that becomes inconsistent in both the real-time narration and the other spoofs. When an actor like Santhanam is headlining a film, it doesn't bode well for the project if the humour works only in spurts.
If the inconsistency in humour is a thing of worry, even more worrisome is the treatment of the leading women of the film. Apart from Sowcar Janaki, the other two leads (Tara Alisha Berry and Swati Muppala) have very little to do than exist for the hero to pass remarks on their dress or their profession, pass romantic overtures, and finally, fall in love or become a friend for life. Also, there is a tasteless and unnecessary 'joke' on sexual assault somewhere in between. Why even resort to these asides when, a) there is no bearing of such scenes to the overall proceedings, and most importantly, and the only right issue here, b) there is NO NEED. There is also an emotional angle surrounding an old-age home, which contributes more to the humour quotient than the sentiment value.
In Vallavanukku Pullum Aayudham, Santhanam's debut as a lead hero, the heroine, in good spirit, calls him 'Time Pass'. It seems to have been a precise prediction too as most of Santhanam's films since then aim to get the easy laughs and provide timepass. And, even Biskoth, as long as it played to Santhanam's strengths, just about manages to stay crisp. However, there is only so much Santhanam and his cohorts can do, and as the wafer-thin plot gets stretched way beyond its elasticity, Biskoth, unfortunately, crumbles like a biscuit dipped a tad too long in a glass of tea.