A drunk boy is booed away for singing a Tamil film song after gate crashing a party dominated by North Indians. As he is chased off stage, the hero enters and the drunk boy asks him to save the State’s honour. Hero takes the stage and breaks into a Hindi song to the tune of ‘Rosapoo Chinna Rosapoo’ (from Suryavamsam). The song goes something like: ‘Rosa hai, dil main rosa hai, main tera breakfast dosa hai...’ (It’s as much Hindi as Joey’s ‘French’). The audience joins in on the chorus. It’s a Vikraman movie moment.

Nobody makes mokkai (silly) jokes work with a straight face like Shiva does. In fact, that’s all the acting he can do. He can say the silliest of mokkai jokes without laughing.

We first saw this side of him, as the personification of every Tamizh Padam hero stereotype, in C.S. Amudhan’s spoof. And Shiva has made a career out of this type. It’s part self-deprecatory, part delusional. Whether it is ‘singing’ nonsense or ‘dancing’ with cricket steps or ‘acting’ serious, Shiva is in on the joke. He’s the funny man pretending to be important.

So how do you take this type and make him a hero of a romantic comedy? Krishnan Jayaraj, who co-directed Tamizh Padam, presents us with an anti-romance comedy. The hero here Shiva is not a fan of romance or marriage. (We shouldn’t be surprised if Shiva is called Shiva in all his films because he is mostly the same character in all films.)

He likes his single life, finishes Tamil dubbing for Hollywood films without a script on most days in one single take (the dubbing scenes are the funniest portions of the film) and spends the rest of his time bonding with his buddies... Until one day, his single mother emotionally blackmails him into seeing a prospective bride. The kind of girl Kollywood mothers want for their son. God-fearing, conservative, vegetarian, etc... an exact opposite of the hero.

Though you know how the film will end, writer-director Jayaraj makes the journey to that point fairly unpredictable, by making fun of Kollywood’s favourites — nattamai theerpu (a scene that would work even if you copy pasted it into Tamizh Padam), thaali sentiment (the interval twist block is well-played misdirection) or even the falling in love process. The hero pines more for his dream car (blatant product placement) than the girl throughout the film.

It’s a fairly modern take on romance with the girl Anjali (Vasundhara Kashyap) getting an equal role and the young actress has enough spunk to carry it off. With many scenes spoofing Tamil cinema conventions, including a spoof of the Bharatanatyam scene from Tamizh Padam, Sonna Puriyathu strikes a false note only when a romance number is plugged in (music is by Yathish Mahadev) and slows things down a little in second half.

A film that is anti-formula could have easily got rid of all the excess baggage. No matter how many times critics ask filmmakers to knock off those needless songs in foreign locations and fasten things up in the second half; they are not going to listen.

Genre: Comedy

Director: Krishnan Jayaraj

Cast: Shiva, Vasundhara Kashyap, Blade Shankar, Manobala, R.S. Sivaji

Storyline: A commitment-phobic dubbing artiste is emotionally blackmailed by his mom into finding a bride.

Bottomline: A breezy anti-romance comedy that works as a Tamizh Padam spin off with enough laughs to merit a watch