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Oliyum Oliyum: Big fat fiasco

By Pavithra Srinivasan
June 22, 2009 14:21 IST
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Here're a few tips on How Not to Make a Movie, by Dandini Creations, producers of the Tamil venture Oliyum Oliyum (Light and Sound), directed by Shakthi Chellam:

1. Set the story in the pre-independence era in a little village called Thiruvalar Solai. Makes sure that neither ambience nor atmosphere fits the storyline, by choosing huge homes surrounded by acres of telephone lines.

2. Pepper the screen with a cast that's a movie-watcher's nightmare: there's Ramu (Prabha), a kondai-wearing youngster who's supposed to be intelligent but appears stupid, uses English words like modern-day youngsters (example, "Okay" and "Stop"), wears modern clothes and never seems to have heard of a veshti; Selvi (Aswati), a dumb girl with one expression throughout the movie -- even when she's highly patriotic; Ramu's elder brother (Anand Babu) who does a silly break-dance when India gets freedom; his wife (Pragathi) and a host of others who cannot act and wonder (along with us) what they're doing in the film.

Some saving graces are Mohan who plays Gopal, a lecherous, lust-infused young man who uses every wile known in the book to attain his ends; Palam Kalyanasundaram, a real-life social worker who plays Constable Govindaswamy; Scissors Manohar who is his usual enthusiastic self as Mookuthi and Pannari, an enthusiastic follower of yesteryear superstar, M K Thyagaraja Bhagavathar.

Special mention must be made of Geetha, who plays Poonkodi, yet another patriotic woman. Geetha happens to be deaf and mute in real life, which makes her portrayal definitely worth a mention. Pity though, that it makes no impact.

3. Use sentiment to try and make the audience sway to silliness: make the heroine recite in an expressionless voice that she'll never marry until India attains her freedom (a sentiment her mother too echoed with little success.) Never show her participating in any rally or shouting a slogan -- all she does is draw the tri-colour flag crudely. Show an equally cringe-worthy flashback in which her mother actually kills all her children because they dared to be born in a shackled country. Make the hero climb a temple and replace the British flag with a (wrongly depicted) Indian flag, and show his instant change-of-heart. Also bring in a villain who tries to seduce every young girl in the vicinity. This is supposed to be the sugar-coating for an otherwise bitter movie that talks about patriotism and humanity. The more pretentious, the better.

4. Bring in a vacant-looking Englishman to play a British officer who delivers dialogues that actually forms the comedy portion of the story. Repeat dialogues twice every time, to drive the point home, and your viewers insane.

5. Have around 10 songs, tuned by Yani Desh in the film -- all equally tuneless and capable of making everyone giggle. Phrases like "I am going insane" must occur once every 10 minutes, not to mention a patriotic song. Also make principal characters suddenly prance around each other in the name of dance (choreography by Pvk Shriram).

6. Make sure the technical crew delivers a less-than-stellar performances: S Ravi's camera is just barely there, while M Arasu's editing goes haywire.

7. Use special effects like a moving calendar which has absolutely no relevance to the script.

8. Lastly, make sure the script is so faulty and ridiculous that half the characters run around like headless chickens, while the audience is left to roll around the aisles laughing.
With all these ingredients, you're definitely guaranteed a riot of humour with a production like this. Failing that, you can at least keep everyone away from the halls.

Rediff Rating: No stars

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Pavithra Srinivasan