Reviews

Sakalakala Vallavan: Old, crass and hostile

A still from the film.  

Dheena. Thalapathy. Vaali. Padithal Mattum Podhuma. Thirupachi. Endhiran. Kanchana 2. Singam. Annamalai. In chronological order, Sakalakala Vallavan makes references to these films either by borrowing punch lines, background music, or songs from them. Director Suraj more or less rewrites the popular adage ‘If you can’t find a way, make one’ to ‘If you can’t find a way, make references to someone else’s way’. But while somebody like Venkat Prabhu has made a career by milking such references for laughs, Suraj’s ideas fail to evoke even a polite smile. He gives a robot makeover to ‘Mottai’ Rajendran, but even that isn’t funny. For a film that tries to be a comedy, Sakalakala Vallavan makes for a sombre experience.

There are pitiable attempts at humour by the use of rhyming dialogues. There are so many of them that you wonder if a Class 2 teacher was hired as a special consultant for help with the rhyming. No, really. What is particularly funny about rhyming the word ‘ kaththi’ with ‘ bakthi’, even ignoring that they don’t even really rhyme? In one scene when Sakthi’s (Jayam Ravi) friend, Chinnabuthi (Soori), wets himself in fear, Sakthi asks, “ Ennada adhu elaneer?” And you’re thrown off, for, who looks at a wet pant, and narrows the cause to coconut water? You realise shortly that it was used, so Chinnabuthi can reply “ Elaneer illa da. Siruneer.” As Chandler Bing would probably have said, “Email me at hahanotsomuch.com.”



Genre: Comedy
Director: Suraj
Cast: Jayam Ravi, Anjali, Trisha, Soori
Storyline: A villager comes to grips with his marriage
This is the type of film in which you could guess that a marriage would be stopped at the last possible minute — you know, just as the thaali’s first knot is about to be tied — and you’d be right. It’s also the type in which an educated, urban bride hangs her head in shame when the wedding is stopped, and meekly lets herself be married off to the first guy to step up. Sakalakala Vallavan is not only dated, but dangerous too. Among various gems that come out of Sakthi’s mouth is the advice that some women can be controlled only with some regular beating. It is passed off as a joke, but is it technically a joke if nobody laughs? Sakthi, who hails from a village, also points out that the problem with women in cities is that they get a divorce all too easily and that they don’t quite think about how this affects the families of both parties. Suddenly, an earlier scene that shows Divya (Trisha) throwing a glass bowl at his head begins to seem justified.

Sakalakala Vallavan, a bit like its 1982 predecessor starring Kamal Haasan, is about a gold-hearted villager and his taming of an urban woman. So tamed is Divya at one point that she tells Sakthi that even if she asks for something, Sakthi must use his discretion in giving it to her. It is all so old-fashioned. Take the initial romantic scenes of Sakthi and Selvi (a partly clothed Anjali). Almost all of them have Sakthi accidentally falling down, his lips unerringly always landing on Selvi’s — bringing to mind the same horrible idea employed in Arunachalam. Later when Selvi hugs him by mistake, Chinnabuthi demands to know why Sakthi didn’t push her away. His reply is gold: “ Ava gummunu irundhaa. Naan gammunu irundhen.” All I could think at the end of this film was, “If I had stayed home, naan jammunu irundhuruppen.” Sorry, but the film does that to you.

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Printable version | Apr 11, 2021 6:53:36 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/cinema/cinema-reviews/sakalakala-vallavan-old-crass-and-hostile/article7488820.ece

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