‘Gulu Gulu’ movie review: Santhanam’s black comedy dishes a few laughs but nothing more

Directed by Rathna Kumar, 'Gulu Gulu' starring Santhanam is an interesting experiment with limited results

Updated - July 29, 2022 05:15 pm IST

Published - July 29, 2022 04:49 pm IST

A still from Santhanam’s ‘Gulu Gulu’

A still from Santhanam’s ‘Gulu Gulu’ | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

What is Google searching for?

No, we aren't referring to the popular Internet search engine, but to Santhanam, who is named Google in this latest black comedy. He's from a faraway land, but he travels many countries, only to somehow make his way to Chennai, where he becomes so fond of the people and the language that the globetrotter decides to 'settle down', doing odd jobs and helping people. They say, 'Vandhaarai Vazhavaikkum Thamizhagam' (Tamil Nadu nurtures those who come to live here). It does so for Google too.

Meanwhile, in another part of the city, a funeral is on, and two brothers are angry that their half-sister is at it. They are determined that she doesn't see her father's face, even if it's for the last time. Elsewhere, there's a youngster who wants to test his busy father's love towards him. How are all these interconnected, you may ask. They are, in the Rathna Kumar-directed Gulu Gulu's universe.

Gulu Gulu has plenty of silly situations puncturing the serious happenings, but the story is as old as the hills. A motley group is engaged in a kidnap and things go haywire. A gang involved in something serious gets entangled in this mess. There's a case of mistaken identity too, and all this ties in with Mr Google, who has to sort it out.

Gulu Gulu
Cast: Santhanam, Athulya, Namitha, Pradeep Rawat, Mariyam George
Director: Rathna Kumar
Runtime: 149 minutes
Storyline: A travel junkie decides to help a group of youngsters who are in search of their missing friend

There are a few laughs here and there, especially with respect to the 'pisnaari kidnappers', as Mariyam George and company were described in this film's teaser. This results in hilarious situations in the first half, but after the initial guffaws, the jokes start drying up. The don and his 'useless villain' brother aren't menacing as they ought to be. And the sub-plots, especially about a girl with an unique phobia and about a rowdy duo, have no particular relevance to the main storyline.

At 150 minutes, Gulu Gulu is overtly long and once the jokes dry up, you keep looking at your watch. For Santhanam, however, this is certainly an experiment worth picking, because it does not rely on his comedy counters alone to impress audiences. As a character too, Google is an interesting choice in his career and something you wouldn't expect him to pick up. But it quite doesn't result in the madcap film that he would have expected it to be.

A still from Santhanam’s ‘Gulu Gulu’

A still from Santhanam’s ‘Gulu Gulu’ | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Composer Santhosh Narayanan has fun with the tunes, and his music here is strange and offbeat. Tunes like 'Maatna Gaali' or 'Amma Nah Nah' perfectly fit the situation, but one wonders if all this musical irreverence will work a few weeks down the line on the average listener.

Director Rathna Kumar, who made Meyadha Maan and Aadai earlier and has contributed to Lokesh Kanagaraj's projects as well, has taken a new path with Gulu Gulu. While that is appreciable, the result isn't exactly the laugh riot that it ought to have been, thanks to the writing being all over the place. They named their lead character Google, but did not search enough for a coherent screenplay.

Gulu Gulu is currently running in theatres

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