Cast: Jai, Vaibhav Reddy, Premji Amaran, Sneha, Piaa Bajpai, Melanie Marie, Aravind Akash, Sampath Raj
Direction: Venkat Prabhu
Two-film old Venkat Prabhu calls his latest Goa (in Tamil) a holiday adventure set in the western State, whose traditional culture of feni, fun and a dash of Portugal have now given way to sheer notoriety. Just days before the movie’s opening on January 29 came the news of a nine-year-old Russian girl being molested on the beaches of Goa, one of a string of brutal incidents that included murder and rape of foreign women.
So when the three friends in the film – Vinayagam (Jai), Ramarajan (Vaibhav Reddy) and Saamikannau (Premji Amaran) – flee their soul smothering, conservative hamlet in Tamil Nadu with a song in their hearts and stars in their eyes, and head for Goa, one begins to feel queasy. Out to gawk at bikini-clad babes on the beaches and hook a girl with a passport to the West, the trio get entangled with gay men (one of them played superbly by Sampath Raj, a complete change of garb from the villain he usually portrayed), a ruthless casino owner (Sneha’s Suhasini Fernando),a demure foreigner (Melanie Marie as Jessica Alba all eager to don the sari and the sindhur) and an Indian in hot pants looking-for-true-love, Roshni (Piaa Bajpai). Pepper these with raucousness, costumes that batter your visual senses and a raunchy rollercoaster run, and you get a salad that cannot be swallowed.
Poorly scripted and unimaginatively cast (except for Raj) and carelessly enacted, Goa may well end up shooting the wrong kind of signals – of fair skinned passports and the State as the one-stop shop for unrestricted liberty, drugs and sex kittens. Okay, Goa ends with sermons screaming Indian culture being king and desi damsels, demigoddesses, but by the time these come on, audiences may already be drunk on the State’s unflattering image.
Sadly, despite all the hype that Goa raised, it cannot even pass as one of those flicks that allow you to lean back and enjoy.