They say good packaging is half the work done. And this holds true for the Tamil film, Arai En 305il Kadavul (God in Room No 305). If Imsai Arasan 23am Pulikesi showcased a nutty king in the British Raj, then S Pictures' Arai En 305il Kadavul directed by uber-creative Chimbhudevan has managed to display a modern God who speaks English.
Though you may have seen Chennai's hectic and remarkably raggedy mansion-life in many movies before this, yet Arai.... manages to throw open the doors in a very engaging fashion by first telling us that there are two 'Paal Veethis' (a pun on the Milky Way galaxy and the Paul Street in Triplicane).
Characters are introduced via freeze-frames and photographs, cutting through intensely personal details in a flash. We are introduced to a host of players including Mokkai Saami (Kanja Karuppu) and Raasu (Santhanam).
Then there is the elderly government servant who counts his days; 'Lord Wellesley' who has a fixation about Buckingham Palaces; engineer Rafeeq (Thalaivaasal Vijay), a miser; Thanjai Rudhran (Rajesh), a confirmed atheist; Giri (Hanifa) a tea stall owner; and Madaswamy, the mansion's manager (M S Bhaskar), a kindly but frustrated man who is always after our heroes for the month's rent. Each character is a pleasure to watch.
All these people and then some provide you with the substance required for the story which is about Mokkai and Raasu, who live on other people's charity. The duo goes job hunting, loses their jobs, falls in love, but can't marry, and then, one fine day, gets thrown out of their mansion.
Frustrated and depressed beyond belief, they yell and scream at God, calling him names. They demand that he comes down in person and answers their queries, which he does.
Thus enters Kadavul (Prakashraj) with a bang, literally. He promises to stick with them and experience their problems firsthand. What follows is a hilarious action-packed sequence.
Kadavul is omnipresent and omnipotent with the help of his mysterious G-Box, which helps him rule the universe. With the help of this remarkable device, God transports them to the Swiss Alps, the southern reaches of Tamil Nadu, produces full meals and flies with them a la Superman. In between these adventures, he also tries to explain that their problems are not created by gods, but by humans themselves.
Then one fine day, Raasu and Mokkai decide that instead of letting God control them with a G-Box, they will become Gods themselves -- by stealing the aforementioned box!
Joining them are the heroines -- Jyothirmayi and Madhumitha, who appear in such a minimal fashion that there's hardly anything to write home about. Kuyili, in a brief but slick role, impresses.
For Kanja Karuppu and Santhanam, these roles are by far their meatiest. The wonder of it all is that despite the comic situations, they still manage to wring a tear or two with their performances in the poignant scenes.
But the movie undoubtedly belongs to Prakashraj. The man is a marvel when it comes to combining godly qualities like that of benevolence with a gentle amusement, and when he is suddenly bereft of his powers, he still manages to produce a dignity and charm that instantly wins you over.
Chimbhudevan, with his screenplay and script has done a mammoth job of narrating the story, and it shows in every frame. The director has taken great pains to steer away from cliches. That said, he should have shown how the G-Box affected our heroes. Considering that Raasu and Mokkai hold such a magnificent power in their hands, they don't really use its potential and their payback seems childish, at best.
Vidhyasagar's music hits the spot, making sure your attention never deviates from the movie. Kadhal Seiveer is a particularly mesmerising piece.
Yes, it's chock-full of comedy. But it makes you think, as well. A must-watch.