Even with the garish psychedelic patterns that accompany the titles (an indispensable feature of our films of the 1980s) first-time director C.S. Amudhan sets the ball rolling for a rib-tickling take on Tamil cinema. But for the backing of the imposing production banner, Cloud Nine’s ‘Tamizh Padam’ (U) may not have had such a smooth release, because from Mammootty and Mani Ratnam to Rajinikanth and Ramarajan, few are spared in this super-spoof from Amudhan and his team. The best part is no actor (probably except Mammootty) is imitated – hence ‘TP’ transcends the level of predictable mimicry shows. A bold attempt, ‘TP’ helps us laugh at films in a healthy way.

If you’ve been following Tamil cinema all your life you are bound to have a blast watching ‘TP’! But having said that, you are also quite befuddled as to why Amudhan couldn’t sustain the tempo throughout. ‘TP’ sags in parts though the drawback doesn’t take away the joy of watching foibles prevalent in mainstream cinema. In its attempt to be funny ‘TP’ goes slightly overboard at times. Hence you have scenes hanging without cogency. Keeping the mood of levity going needn’t necessarily mean dispensing with a strong story effectively melded.

Shiva (Shiva) along with Bharath (‘Vennira Aadai’ Murthy), Nakul (M.S. Bhaskar) and Siddharth (Manobala) are the ‘Boys’ seen hanging around together! Shiva, a do-gooder and a champion of the poor, challenges his girl friend’s dad that he would become a rich man to win the daughter’s hand, and achieves it in a matter of minutes! (As the girl’s father exclaims in surprise, Shiva’s business reaches unassailable heights in as much time as it takes the cook to make a cup of coffee! And of course a sonorous Shankar Mahadevan’s song works magic!) Shiva now has to trace his antecedents before entering wedlock (that’s the next challenge!) At around the same time you get to know that Shiva is an IPS officer! Don’t get into the logistics of such matters -- you are bound to be confounded …

Scenes that show a Raj Kiran look-alike hogging food and Shiva’s one-scene ally a la ‘Kandaswamy’ waiting to pounce on the villain are funny, no doubt, but too much of such stuff slows down the pace of ‘TP,’ particularly post-interval.

It’s a big break for Shiva, the hero, and the young man does a commendable job of it. He is probably one of those rare heroes who can handle comedy and inanity with such earnestness! And despite not being familiar with the language, Disha Pandey, the petite heroine, gets her reactions right, though the potential of Murthy, Manobala and Bhaskar could have been utilised better.

Composer Kannan seems to know the pulse of filmgoers. Be it the fiery ‘Sooravali …’ the typically heroic ‘Pachcha Manja …’ or the melodic gibberish of ‘O Maha Seeya …’ every song is hum-worthy. The re-recording isn’t found wanting either. And while on the lyric content, Chandru deserves special mention.

Every shot has a joke which makes you double up in laughter. The leading man’s intro song, his super hero stance and acrobatics in the name of stunts, the unrealistic fight sequences, duet in foreign sands, the heroine’s dad, the don’s den, dark, long-haired henchmen … Amudhan takes a dig at all clichés cinema abounds in.

‘TP’ thrives on sarcasm and parody – elements that have you in splits … most of the time.