Over a dark screen, we hear a man’s whisper, a plea to a woman to “show” him something. The leering sexual connotation is quickly dispelled when it’s revealed that the display being sought is that of an exam answer sheet. The man — if you can call him that; he’s really just an overgrown child — is Shiva (Sundeep), and he’s so lazy he cannot even remember to wake up on time for his exams. He cannot even remember what subject the exam is for, and instead of his hall ticket, he brings along a copy of his family’s ration card.

Somehow, the school brainiac Sindhiya (Dimple Chopade) falls for him. She invites him over when her parents aren’t home. On TV, Rajinikanth is panting alongside Gauthami to the strains of Maasi maasam aalaana ponnu, and elsewhere, Kamal Haasan is asking Ambika — in the Vanithamani number — if he can stick to her. Passions are aroused. The next day, we see Shiva in a T-shirt inscribed with the legend: “At last I did it.”

The plot, such as it is, kicks in at interval point, when Shiva is seen wearing a T-shirt patterned with a question mark — reflecting the title of R Madhan Kumar’s Yaaruda Mahesh. We’re meant to wonder, along with Shiva, who Mahesh is — but the film isn’t terribly invested in this revelation. It’s more interested in following the current trend in Tamil cinema, which is to clear aside character and plot development in favour of a wisecrack per minute. (Jagan plays the Santhanam equivalent, mistaking “dude” for “nude,” “bro” for “bra,” and a popular swear word for “duck.”)

Insomuch as it plays its hero for a chump — besides treating sex as a casual human activity without manufacturing melodrama from its occurrence — the scrappily put together Yaaruda Mahesh is mildly tolerable. But do the jokes have to be so sexist? Along with a supposed gag about a female body part (which the censors beep out to no effect), the ring tone that Sindhiya employs is Naan aalaana thamarai. She’s not seen wearing a suggestive T-shirt, but she could just as well be waving a banner saying: “At last I did it.”

Genre: Comedy

Director: R Madhan Kumar

Cast: Sundeep, Jagan, Dimple Chopade

Storyline: A slacker gets his comeuppance

Bottomline: Scrappily made. Mildly tolerable