Film: "Moodar Koodam"; Cast: Naveen, Sentrayan, Kuberan, Rajaj, Jayaprakash, Anupama Kumar, Oviya and Sindhu Reddy; Director: Naveen; Rating: ***1/2
The success of films such as "Soodhu Kavvum", "Pizza", "Naduvula Konjam Pakkatha Kaanom" and "Neram" has proved that Tamil cinema doesn't rely anymore on hero-worshipping, big ticket films.
Debutant Naveen's "Moodar Koodam" (MK), which revolves around four unemployed wastrels, is the latest addition to that list of Tamil films that have managed to impress cinemagoers even with an unknown lead cast.
The premise of MK is based on the line - 'It's better well to travel well than to arrive' - by Gautham Buddha.
Circumstances force four strangers Naveen, Vellaisamy, Sentrayan and Kuberan to land in the same jail for minor offences, but they are released soon. An unlikely friendship is born out of the short span they spend together behind bars. Not sure how to earn the next meal of the day, the group decides to join hands in robbery, swearing to lead an honest life from the proceeds.
They decide to rob Vellaisamy's uncle Bhaktavatsalan, who made millions with an initial investment loaned by Vellaisamy's father many years ago. Bhaktavatsalan refuses to help Vellaisamy when in dire need, hence the plan to rob him to recover money that he has earned by cheating hundreds of innocent people.
As one of the group members tries to pick the lock of the supposedly empty house, the door is opened by the mistress of the house. A series of events follow that force the four to handle the situation in the most unbelievable yet hilarious manner.
"Moodar Koodam" doesn't have a single dull moment thus making it the twin of "Soodhu Kavvum", which happens to be one the funniest films of the year. The film's tagline "Fool's Gathering" is akin to the theme of the film, which in a way explains why almost every character in the film reeks of foolishness.
There are far too many characters in the film, but it is the meeting of these characters at regular intervals keeps us away from boredom.
Instead of introducing its characters, MK relies on narrating through flashbacks, making us sitting through a laborious process. You initially enjoy these flashbacks narrated through songs, but when you realize there is one for a dog and even for a doll, which plays a crucial part, you lose interest in the film. These unnecessary flashbacks result in extended running time clocking little over two and a half hours.
The first half is a laugh riot, while the following part is dragged due to an extended climax. Director Naveen, who also played one of main leads, packs some powerful lines amidst all the humour in the film. For instance, a scene where he explains the divide between rich and poor using a simple anecdote of a mango tree deserves a loud applause.
The film steers away from all the common cliches associated with genre. The use of situational comedy to perfection explains why most scenes are naturally funny. Sample this scene - when Naveen tells Sentrayan to break anything that looks like a cell phone in the house, the latter crushes to pieces a TV remote because it has buttons and looks like a mobile phone. There are equally amusing scenes in the film that will make your jaws drop.
Length is the only issue in what is otherwise a brilliantly written and performed highly entertaining film. Here is another Tamil film assuring there are better day ahead for this industry.