Over a fairly illustrious stage, TV, and cinema career, ‘Crazy’ Mohan has made a name for himself as one of the funniest writers around. To say his collaborations with Kamalhassan have been good would be an understatement. Their combination has been responsible for some of the best rib-tickling comedies that have come out in the past few decades in Aboorva Sagodharargal, Michael Madhana Kamarajan, Avvai Shanmugi, Panchathanthiram, and, not to mention, a slew of other average fares to add. Be that as it may, someone cannot be faulted for overlooking the dialogue writer (not that it is a wise thing to do, of course) when the movie features Kamalhassan and is directed by someone with the track record of K.S. Ravikumar. However, with Kola Kolaya Mundhirika, in which he is responsible for the story and dialogues, ‘Crazy’ Mohan has dismissed any such illusions once and for all. The movie features a very untested hero who has some sparse supporting appearances to his credit, a heroine who is making her debut, and a director who is just into her sophomore effort, and whose debut was a below-average drama at best. Even with a less-than-inspiring combo like that, the movie still offers a very impressive laugh quotient, thanks in no small part to ‘Crazy’ Mohan’s dialogues.
The film opens some 20 years ago, in 1989, on the day of Krishna Jayanthi. Veerappan (Anand Raj), the step-brother of a fairly wealthy zamindar has just been released from jail and has come back to demand his share of the family wealth. The latter, not to be intimidated, hides away his wealth in the form of diamonds in four royal chairs and asks his trusted servant Ganesan (‘Delhi’ Ganesh) to deliver each of them to four houses at random. The zamindar and his wife are killed shortly thereafter, while their only child escapes unscathed. Fast-forward to the present, Ganesan is on his deathbed and calls on Krish (Karthik Kumar), who is a con-man by profession, to transfer the secret of the lost wealth. Krish recruits Veni (Shikha) and her father Santhanam (M.S. Bhaskar), who are also cons and with whom he has already sparred with on previous occasions, to get some aid with uncovering the lost diamonds. Naturally, Veerappan gains knowledge of the unlikely alliance and plans to use it to his advantage. In the midst of all this, we also have Police Inspector Mathrubootham (Jayaram) trying to uncover a crime syndicate whose secrets could be hidden in one of the four chairs in the form of a computer chip.
KKM is ‘Crazy’ Mohan’s movie from start to finish. Sure, there is some lightweight romance between the lead pair, but it is even more subdued than the one in last year’s big comedy Thiru Thiru Thuru Thuru. The songs, which serve only as hindrance to the natural flow of the story and laughs, are just inserted to provide the traditional bathroom and cigarette breaks. But all of that is secondary, the movie’s singular aim is to evoke lots of laughter and the main tool used for that purpose is ‘Crazy’ Mohan’s pen, whose very unique brand of comedy is in full display here.
‘Crazy’ Mohan’s comedy has always been of the straightforward situational sort, fully dependant on the story, setting, and the characters plus the situations they find themselves in. Very rarely will you find double entendres or dialogues that gross you out or make you squirm uncomfortably; one big advantage arising out of that is his movies are always family-friendly. KKM is no different. It has enough outright hilarious sequences that will have the audience in splits and the theatre drowned in laughter. And sandwiched between moments like that, which are arguably the best in the movie, are several mildly funnier portions which will also induce a giggle or two out of you. When you put it all together, it makes for a movie that has a nice pacing to it, and I can’t remember any particular sequence where I was bored or was made to look at my watch, which is the best thing anybody could have hoped for in this film in the first place.
In a movie like this, the principal two are not exactly critical to the success, which more or less depends on the supporting cast. Karthik Kumar is one of those actors who will always be more suited for the NRI groom from America role than the local con-man in Chennai role, which is what he is stuck with here. Although his stylish accent still makes its appearance sporadically, not exactly a great aspect when considering his character’s background, his overall performance is adequate, and he even displays a fair sense of comic timing in a few scenes. Shikha looks to be this year’s Rupa Manjari (Thiru Thiru Thuru Thuru). Her charm and lively personality light up the screen in quite a few sequences and she has a nice, expressive face which she puts to good use in her exchanges with Karthik and M.S. Bhaskar.
The supporting cast is as good as it gets for a comedy of this sort: the best of the lot, without a doubt, is Jayaram as Mathrubootham. His comic aptitude should be obvious to anyone who has watched Panchathanthiram and Tenali (both of which also featured ‘Crazy’ Mohan as the dialogue-writer), and it is again evident here as the incompetent inspector. The role is responsible for a vast quantity of the laughs, and a majority of that is due to his effective performance. M.S. Bhaskar is one of those actors who can look perfectly cast in any comic role, and again raises lots of guffaws with his delivery alone. Anandraj’s comeback as the comedy-villain who has to put up with two ineffective right-hand men provides the desired effects. There is also a surprising cameo which I won’t spoil for goodness’ sake, although a visit to any of the other countless pages on the web should surely do it.
In the wake of the success of Subramaniapuram, most directors have been content with serving more of the same dark, gory, and violence-ridden films at us, and it definitely takes a movie like Kola Kolaya Mundhirika to shine some light. The film offers a healthy dosage of laughs to keep us smiling throughout and is, in essence, the perfect counterpart to the hordes of grim movies that have been pervading Tamil cinema recently.