With slick promos showing a boxing bout between Nasser and Mouli, UTV Motion Pictures' and Four Frames' latest Tamil venture, Poi Solla Porom (We're Going to Lie) has certainly entered the race with a bang, raising anticipation among viewers of this remake of Dibaker Banerjee's Khosla ka Ghosla. The Tamil film is written and directed by Vijay.
The theme isn't exactly a new one, and neither is it a stark presentation -- but Poi touches you in more ways than one.
Take our tale's protagonist, Sathyanathan (Nedumudi Venu) for example. A middle class citizen who has nightmares about his own death (where no one, including his own family seems to care), he burps when he wakes up and then waddles around the house, sporting a paunch, happily ensconced in his daily routine.
But the heart of this rather stodgy, affectionate male conceals a very earnest desire: buying a plot of land and building the New Nathan Home in it. He eats, sleeps and dreams the house, discussing its colour scheme, the placements of rooms, and trying desperately to rope in his wayward family into his enthusiastic raptures as well.
They couldn't care less. Uppilinathan (Karthik) hates everything from his horribly archaic name to his father's dreams -- and hopes against hope to journey to the States. Not even the affection of his girlfriend Amrita (Piya), who acts in a drama troupe headed by Mouli, can stop him. Uppili spends almost all his time away from his office in the company of Asif Bhai (Bosky), who sends wannabees abroad, operating from his 'Benz' (a souped up auto-rickshaw).
Second son Vishwanathan aka Vicha (Omar) is still a pesky youngster whose tastes are pretty juvenile -- while daughter Sindhu (Justina) doesn't even factor into the equation. Sathyanathan's pride and joy is Uppili though -- and the fact that his favourite son seems disinterested to the point of boredom where his family is concerned disturbs him.
Also disturbed is Amrita, who doesn't even know of his plans to leave for the US until very late. Meantime, Sathyanathan finalises a deal through broker Vijaykumar (Hanifa) who smooth-talks the whole family out of Rs 30 lakh. Days later, when Sathyanathan and his family visit the plot to celebrate, catastrophe breaks: Baby (Nasser) of Baby Developers, has built an imposing compound wall and taken over the plot.
There's really nothing much to say when you have an actor like Nedumudi Venu in the cast -- he's the middle-aged Sathyanathan to life, with his paunch and receding hairline. His animated face when he describes the house; the heartbreak and agony he goes through when he sees his dream destroyed and then his frustration as he flies from pillar to post are a joy to behold. A fine performance.
Karthik brings the disinterested, bored son alive; you feel like shaking him back to his senses. When he takes control of the situation, though, you want to cheer him on.
Pia is bubbly and cheery, while Omar's antics as the young son rouse you to laughter.
Nasser hasn't looked this menacing in years, while Hanifa, with his food-munching act steals the show whenever he appears. Both these actors have perfected the art of caricaturing.
Bosky fits the bill as the guy who helps the family resolve the situation -- even if his motivation appears a little too good to be true.
But it's clearly Mouli, the hapless actor who's the prize catch, when it comes to tossing you from delighted laughter to nervousness. Once again, he proves that there's no one quite like him for effortless comedy. Equally creditable is Subramaniam, his hapless secretary.
Vijay's screenplay and execution pass muster -- mostly due to the cast's performance -- but his contribution towards the dialogues is near faultless. For those who've grown up on a diet of Hollywood heist movies, the second half is likely to appear slightly juvenile and simplistic. It is also longer than the first. The comedy effect is theatrical -- probably done on purpose, as an acting troop takes over.
M G Sreekumar's music fits the urban theme, though very little sticks in your memory. Nothing is Impossible lingers for a while. Gopi Sundar's background score, again, mimics the theatre, and is appropriately loud or subtle.
Arvind Krishna's camera showcases the actors lovingly, and throws Nasser into a menacing light, reminding you of vampires from Transylvania. Selvakumar's art and Antony's editing together combine to provide neat work -- especially the title credits, which display the most outrageous lies onscreen: Bush shaking hands with Osama, or the Taj Mahal superimposed with the pyramids. It brings a smile to your face and sets the tone for the movie.
With its stylish production and tinge of realism laced through fantasy, Poi Solla Porom just might strike a chord with the urban audience.