Thookudurai Movie Review: This mindless comedy is not everyone’s cup of tea

Thookudurai Movie Review: This mindless comedy is not everyone’s cup of tea

All is not bad in Thookudurai. Although the film’s one-liners didn’t land, the dialogue-less slapstick sequences manage to crack us up 
Rating:(2 / 5)

Director: Dennis Manjunath
Cast: Yogi Babu, Ineya, Marimuthu (late), Namo Narayana, Bala Saravanan, Sendrayan

My next focus was on the film's title Thookudurai and its relevance to the story. Unsurprisingly, the reason for the name was also never to be found in the film. Thookudrai follows the story of a gang of 'bacherlor' boys from Chennai and a bunch of local villains who go after a coveted crown in the fictional village of Kailasam (Yes, it’s conveniently named so for a joke on Nithyanandha’s Kailasa). How they cross paths and the chaos ensues forms the rest of the film.

While the trailer was enough to hint that the crown was the centre of attraction, the film takes an awfully long time, i.e., the entire first half, to set the conflict in motion. During the intermission, the camera pans and zooms to focus on a well, hinting at the location at which the crown is. And instead of the usual interval card, the makers announce ‘Inter-Well’. Well, I wish they tried for a better ‘pun-intended’ moment because all was not well after the intermission.

Eventually, all these characters combine forces to repossess this valuable crown. While this seems like an easy task, the makers introduce several challenges in attempting to make their endeavours comical. Though they heavily rely on the punchlines to do the trick, they fall flat on face. For example, when a villager asks the gang of robbers, “Enna pa thiruvizha ku vandhirkeengala”, Bala Saravanan, who doesn’t bat an eye, says, “Illa Thiruda vandhirkom,” and then pauses for a moment... almost signalling us to laugh. Well, these lines aren't completely ineffective, some of them got the kids at my theatre roaring. I started wondering if calling this comedy juvenile was a compliment to the film at this point. 

For long stretches, characters go missing in Thookudurai, only to be back in situations that direly need them. Though convenient writing is not a surprise in such vacuous humour, it was hard to see supporting characters travel throughout the runtime for the sake of it. By the way, film’s supposed lead Yogi Babu, hardly plays an extended cameo and I was quite surprised to realise it. All promotional materials of Thookudurai, including posters, trailers, etc. compulsorily had Yogi Babu on them – but it is clearly misleading. Fans of Yogi Babu, who hoped to see their favourite actor on screen for 2 hours, are in for a major disappointment.

The world of Thookudurai also packs elements like honour killing, and horror-comedy. As someone who’s not a fan of the horror genre for its gore, I tend to enjoy horror comedies better because of their ability to turn something haunting into laughable. But to take a heavy subject like honour killing, and then turn it into a joke feels insensitive. Ineya’s character, whose lover is the victim of a gruesome killing orchestrated by her father, completely forgives her father and behaves like nothing happened. In the end, the murderer is shown to apologise to the spirit for killing him to safeguard his ‘honour’. This closure doesn't feel satisfactory because we never see the character repenting his actions before that moment in the screenplay.

Well, all is not bad in Thookudurai. Although the film’s one-liners didn’t land, the dialogue-less slapstick sequences at the anti-climax are the scenes that are capable of cracking one up. Yes, it could have been shorter, but the length is salvageable thanks to the comical choreography of the sequence. Such momentary reliefs pop up here and there in Thookudurai. How I wish such moments were aplenty films with simple ambitions. 

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