Right from the beginning, as you watch Madhavan and Mamta Mohandas sing through the opening credits with blow-dried hair and sickly-sweet expressions in KRG Movies International's Guru En Aalu (Guru's My Man), directed by Selva, you feel a sense of 90's deja vu harking back to the days of Hum Apke Hain Koun. The feeling persists throughout the film, which funnily enough is a remake of another Hindi film, Yes Boss.
Bogged down by controversies and a tardy opening, you really hope the star-studded cast of this Tamil film will save the show as you settle down for good old candy-floss, that is, until you're served with this fare.
Guru (R Madhavan), personal secretary to Krishna (Abbas) dreams of getting rich and famous as his boss. His conversation consists of extraordinary shrieks, shouts and hackneyed phrases. Then we have Seema, (Mamta Mohandas) a model who seems to have very little in the way of either looks or talent that would merit two fully grown men to fall head-over-heels in love with her. And finally, we have assorted characters who seem bent on making their lives and yours equally miserable.
Not that it's this bad in the beginning. Things actually appear interesting, as a three-way love triangle is formed especially when you realise that Krishna is already married, and is virtually dependent on his wealthy wife for everything. He coerces Guru into making Seema fall for him. Things get hotter when you find out that both Guru and Seema share a love for the finer things in life -- fast cars, huge homes and are attracted to each other in the bargain.
Enter Asanam Azhagappan (Vivek), a haphazard yoga master who uses every crooked method in the book to get more students, and Gopal (M S Bhaskar), Krishna's wife's relation, who complicates things in slapstick fashion.
And that's where the charm ends. Why Madhavan, who's capable of acting cute and charming must ape Shah Rukh Khan's every silly mannerism is anyone's guess. Every time he falls all over his feet, spouts cliches, yells his dialogues and stares at you with puppy-dog eyes (a look Shah Rukh perfected) your irritation climbs several notches.
Sadly, Mamta Mohandas is no Juhi Chawla and even when she tries to act naïve and innocent, you feel no real sympathy for her. Her character merely reinforces that make-up, a svelte figure and gullibility will have millionaires falling at your feet. Abbas shines a bit principally when he has to look silly, but also a couple of times when he astutely makes Madhavan do his bidding.
If anything, it's the Vivek-M S Bhaskar comedy track that keeps the story and laughter running until it too falls prey to crass double entendres and cheap tactics. But it speaks volumes for a movie that a comedy track does much better than Selva's lacklustre script. While the first half is at least reasonably swift, the second half drags at a tiresome pace.
Srikanth Deva's music has none of the magic of Jatin-Lalit's Main Koi Aisa Geet, and makes very little impact. V T Vijayan's editing plays spoil-sport in certain places, while U K Senthil Kumar's camera-work and Shiva Yadhav's art are ho-hum; perhaps they realised the futility of the project early on. L Venkatesan's dialogues, delivered by Madhavan, especially, have a definite Hindi twang and sound artificial at times.
If you're looking for a re-creation of a feel-good candy-floss romance, then Selva's shoddy screenplay that's come more than a decade too late is likely to prove quite a drag.