Direction: Saravana Rajan
Cast: Jai, Swati Reddy, RJ Balaji
Running time: 131 minutes
Last week, I reviewed Mundasupatti
, a film that focussed on camera phobia. This week’s Tamil release, Saravana Rajan’s Vadacurry, is all about mobile mania, and how the little gadget is enslaving us.
And not just this, but also look at the way mobile telephones are splitting society into segments. An iPhone looks down upon an Android, and Vadacurry’s Sathish (essayed by Jai) is harassed and humiliated by friends, colleagues, business associates and even casual acquaintances – because he has an inexpensive, no-frills device.
A newly hired medical representative in a small firm, Sathish has a hand-phone that may well belong to history, but I could not understand why it had such a loud ring tone and why it had its speaker permanently on.
If passers-by are startled every time the gadget shrieks, its speaker ensures that the poor guy has no privacy -- especially when his pal, Karikalan (RJ Balaji), chooses to be abusive or just dirty. The conversations turn into public displays which tickle and nauseate those around Satish.
Till, in desperation he steals an iPhone – which ends up playing both Cupid and a criminal. If the gizmo impresses Naveena (Swati Reddy), it also gets Satish mixed up with a gang which passes off medicines past their expiry dates to unsuspecting patients. The bottles are relabelled.
Although the mobile telephone had got one more screen hero into trouble in Pulivaal, it is still creditable that Tamil cinema dares to deal with themes or plots which are unique. And in Vadacurry, Rajan also zeroes in on a terrible evil in society, that of spurious drugs, and here Sathish comes across a notorious group which is pushed by profit to pass off old, ineffective (perhaps dangerous too) medicines meant for children and cardiac patients.
But, Rajan often injects into his narrative inane humour that takes away the sheen from the novelty of the subject -- and the seriousness of an issue such as spurious drug loses its bite.
Jai sleepwalks through his role, delivering his dialogues in one of the most listless ways I have heard. Reddy, as the girl Sathish woos is more like a pretty vase on the mantelpiece, and Balaji impresses, though not quite when he is fooling around, but certainly in those sequences where he manages to soften his abductors.
In the end, Vadacurry is stretchy and the story jumps lanes and badgers us with its convoluted contours. What could have been a stinging black comedy, a smarting satire on greed and profiteering ends up as a mishmash.