Anbulla Ghilli Movie Review: Excruciating mess of a pet film
The already terrible writing is further pulled down by some pathetic performances
It does seem like this is the season of pet movies in Tamil cinema. After the heartwarming Mugizh and a rather forgettable Naai Sekhar comes Anbulla Ghilli. The film is built on the bonding between Ramu (Maithreya Rajasekar) and Ghilli, his adorable white Labrador. They are companions who find solace in each other. Ramu, who lost his parents at a young age, is raised by his grandfather. Growing up, Ramu, a Vijay fan, finds a puppy and names him Ghill.
Director: Ramalingam Srinath
Cast: Soori, Maithreya Rajasekar, Dushara Vijayan
The conflict in this tale with sweet beginnings comes in the form of Ranger Sundaram (Mime Gopi), who is into hunting, ivory trade, and wildlife smuggling. Sundaram is looking for a hunting dog to help him in his illegal activities, and believes Ghilli to be the right fit. This is after the now grown-up lab gets a hero-introduction shot where he chases down a thief. The rest of the plot is about how Ramu and Ghilli outsmart Sundaram.
With Soori voicing for Ghilli, most of its dialogues are intended to be funny (sometimes unintentionally), but they don't always land well. The actor's trademark counter dialogues and name-callings are all employed here. At one point, the dog calls someone 'poona moonji'. I'm not sure if it's supposed to elicit laughter. In another scene, a hungry Ghilli says, 'These guys are not feeding me properly. I'm gonna order from Jomato' (read in Soori's slang). This is not a fantasy film or anything. But we still have a love track for Ghilli, where the two dogs are dressed up in fancy costumes and you've Yuvan Shankar Raja singing for them. If you find the 'dogs love track' unbearable, wait for the one with the humans.
Anvitha, a 'Settu ponnu' played by Dushara Vijayan, is hopelessly in love with Ramu, while he reserves his feelings for his gold-digger 'mama ponnu'. So how does Anvitha fall in love with Ramu? He helps her get a pack of sanitary pads kept on the upper shelf in a supermarket. That's it. Hook, line, and sinker. The whole film is as flimsy as this and it only gets worse.
The already terrible writing is further pulled down by some pathetic performances. Except for Ilavarasu and Mimi Gopi (despite his one-note evil role), none of the other actors manage to deliver even a decent performance. It was painful to see someone like Dushara, who was mighty impressive in Sarpatta Parambarai, struggle hard to emote. Even the lead actor Maithreya, and his two sidekicks, Nanjil Vijayan and VJ Ashiq, are just as bad.
There's a particular stretch in the film when Ghilli tries to travel to Chennai to meet Ramu. Here, the makers have added a song from the dog's PoV, which is about global warming, deforestation, man's greediness, and whatnot. While the intentions are appreciable, why bother to attempt it when you can't even shoot original visuals. Most of the visuals in this song are stock footage from the internet, which gives the feel of attending some high school education seminar.
One of the very few good things about the film is Balasubramaniem's cinematography. Shot in picturesque locations, the visuals of Anbulla Ghilli are pleasing to the eyes but the Snapseed-ish editing spoils it. Arrol Correli's songs are passable but the background score at a few portions are outrageously and unintentionally hilarious.
Through its runtime, Ghilli saves a lot of people in the film. A drowning kid, a blind man on the streets, and of course his master Ramu. He's a saviour. He's called 'Kadavul' by a couple of characters. If only this Kadavul extended this mercy to me, Anbulla Ghilli could have been a Man’s Best friend. Now, all we end up with is one long exhausting exercise that lacks any bite.