Anand L. Rai’s Tanu Weds Manu was entertaining in spite of its shortcomings. That film seems class apart compared to this lacklustre remake. A restrained performance by Madhavan contrasted Kangana’s upbeat nature. Yes, there was a lot of small town kitsch as the film moved from Kanpur to Lucknow to Meerut to New Delhi. But it all added up to entertain us for most parts.
Sadly, Mr. Pellikoduku turns out to be a boring gag fest. The director takes the same plot, shifts the scene to Rajamundry, Hyderabad and Kerala and fills the frames with loud, tacky sets. From the heroine’s home to the sets used for a couple of songs, everything is over the top.
Instead of the NRI doctor, we have a boutique owner in USA. Never mind the opening dance sequence that shows the hero dancing in Malaysia (the Petronas Towers are in too many frames to be missed). Buchi Babu (Sunil) is well groomed, prefers to have his shirt neatly tucked into his pleated formal trousers and is an ideal son who listens to his parents. He is quickly taken by his parents all over AP to meet prospective brides. The first stop is Rajamundry where he meets Anjali (Isha Chawla). She seems to be in a daze and he’s told she’s recovering from viral fever. He falls for her and agrees to the marriage.
A day later, Anjali tells Buchi she was suffering a hangover and also rejects him stating she already has a boyfriend. The onus is on Mr. Bridegroom to cancel the wedding plans. As luck would have it, he chances upon Anjali much later at his friend’s wedding.
The contrasting characters of the protagonists would have made for an enjoyable film. He is always polite while she loves to flaunt her occasional indulgence in smoking and alcohol. He wouldn’t do anything that hurts people around him while she is a rebel without reason. The screenplay barely skims the surface of these characters and instead focuses on staying true to formulaic cinema. You get a bunch of silly gags, a few songs and needless stunts. There’s one guy who pulls in his tummy to hide his paunch whenever he spots young women.
As the film drags on and on, you can keep yourself engaged comparing the film with its original or do a guessing game on when the next song will appear.
Unlike the original, the hero here is given enough room to show off his six-pack abs. Sunil is an exceptional dancer but do we need to see him wear out his knee caps in every song? To be fair, Sunil tries to do his best. But the charm he exuded as a comedy actor is sorely missing in this full-fledged role. Maryada Ramanna was a different ballgame with a role befitting him. Here, Sunil looks miscast. Isha Chawla is convincing in some portions. Ali is simply loud.
Mr. Pellikoduku is a hotchpotch remake. Re-visit Tanu Weds Manu instead.
Cast: Sunil, Isha Chawla and Ali.
Direction: Devi Prasad
Plot: A well-mannered NRI falls for a rebellious girl.
Bottomline: A bore fest.