Despite the tepid reviews for Gulaebaghavali, I swear I went to the cinema with an open mind, ready to take in the movie without any preconceived notion. I mean, how bad can it be? It does, after all, star Prabhu Deva, the dance virtuoso in a leading role. We have the gorgeous Hansika playing his love interest. Both Prabhu Deva and Hansika were sort of making a comeback after a brief hiatus from the industry. Aside from that, we have the legendary, award-winning Revathi playing anti-hero in the film. So how bad can it be, really?
The answer: Pretty darn bad
To put it in its simplest form, director S. Kalyaan lacked focus and direction. The movie, whatever I may deem it to be, is a heist movie – which seems to be the recurring theme for Ponggal this year. Kalyaan wanted the movie to be clever, but he also wanted it to be incredibly funny. And in a attempt to make it ridiculously amusing, he had to compromise on other things like the plot and his integrity.
According to Wikipedia, the movie is about “a don (that) sends three petty criminals to recover a treasure that was buried by his grandfather in the village of Gulaebaghavali”. But that doesn’t even begin to cover it.
The movie starts off with an Indian butler helping his rich British boss to smuggle some briefcases containing valuables. Upon finding out that they are actually diamonds, he steals a whole lot of it for himself. He keeps some of the diamonds with him (to make himself rich), and buries the rest near a temple. And that is it from him.
Then we meet Masha (played by Revathi), who is a badass con artist with a passion for stealing cars.
We meet Prabhu Deva’s character, Badri, who is working for a gangster trio – also with a passion for stealing and conducting heists. Badri meets Viji (played by Hansika) in a club, and she is immediately portrayed as a gold digging b*tch who only approached Badri because she thought he owned a lavish car.
Somehow, all of them cross paths and proceed to the village of Gulaebaghavali retrieve the hidden treasure – determined to split the findings among them. From here, the plot gets incredibly messy, focusing solely on slapstick comedy and jokes that just made me want to vomit blood.
Just when I thought we’ve made progress in making better Tamil movies….
The entire movie revolves around Badri falling in love with Viji in the most superficial way, “She’s hot, she’s beautiful, she’s a goddess, I met her that one time in the club (where she didn’t even like me for who I am) but now I’m in love and can’t stop thinking of her” kinda love. But then again, that scene was probably vital to help us get to know Badri and S.Kalyaan better.
I don’t know if Hansika is just a mediocre actress, or if the script was just really really bad. All Hansika does in the movie is wear pretty dresses and look pretty. I have no idea what her story is – and Kalyaan’s attempt to suddenly introduce Viji’s younger sister seems like a pathetic attempt to get movie-goers’ sympathy. In addition to that, her dubbing was all over the place.
I’ve said this before and I’m going to say it again: Let’s stop bringing North Indian actresses over when we have plenty of Tamil speaking heroines to do the job!
However, I have to give credit where credit is due. Revathi’s Masha was probably the most interesting character to watch. Every now and then, she switches back and forth between a helpless old lady to con people, and then switches back to her cunning, wicked self after her goal is accomplished. Confident and charismatic, Revathi’s on-screen presence overshadows everyone else.
Prabhu Deva’s dance moves are impeccable. The opening ‘Guleba’ song bursts with colours and high energy. Jani master, who choreographed all the song in the movie, delivers first-class choreography.
‘Seraamal Ponal’ is another crowd-favorite, the love ballad is shot is heavy CGI to project a fantasy, fairy-tale world.
Anyway, Gulaebaghavali is essentially a colossal waste of time, unless you’re a die-hard fan of Prabhu Deva and slapstick-comedy. So here are 7 other things you can do with your RM15 instead of going to see the movie.
- Watch Thaana Serndha Kootam again
Since Vikram’s Sketch also proved to be a mediocre product from director Vijayachander, Thaana Serndha Kootam is the clear ponggal winner this year.
2. Buy yourself a decent meal in McDonald’s
Save that money for lunch – RM15 can get yourself a large value meal – and you’ll have some left for dessert.
3. Wash & vacuum your car
Spend that money on your car instead. Take it for a wash and clean it up – it’s better value for your money.
4. Go for Irish Dance workshop at Tropicana
Once every month, people from a KL Meetup group get together and learn the Irish Ceili dance. The workshop costs only RM15, and they provide drinks and snacks too.
5. Subscribe to Spotify
Do away with ads and get unlimited music on your phone with just RM15 a month.
6. Do archanai in temple
Bring your entire family to the temple and do tenga archanai for everybody. Pray for their health and success.
7. Walk around Tasik Titiwangsa and keep the RM15 to yourself
Just go for a long walk and keep the money to yourself. After all, walking has much more benefits that torturing yourself with senseless comedy for two hours.