I was fifteen when Chennai 600028 released. At Sangam Cinemas, I held the hands of my grandmother and her four sisters, up two flights of stairs. Panting, and very much out of breath, we began to watch the film. The movie marked the debut of Venkat Prabhu, had a chartbusting album by Yuvan Shankar Raja, and some, err, uncomfortable song sequences that were not meant to be watched with one’s grandmothers.
Its sequel arrives nine years later. The boys (actors ‘Mirchi’ Shiva, Ajay Raj, Nithin Sathya, Vijay Vasanth, Premgi Amaren), who so delightfully shirked responsibility all that time back, are now husbands. Who still find creative ways to get out of adulthood.
In the intervening years, the film’s director Venkat Prabhu meandered down different genres. There was Masss and Mankatha – fronted by big stars. There was a certain expectation to cater to the large fan bases of the stars. This responsibility weighed hard on Venkat, and his films.
It showed in the film’s narratives, that depended to a large extent on the lead’s charisma and some throwaway ‘mass’ moments to bolster it.
In Chennai 600028 II, we see a Venkat Prabhu who throws away the shackles that come with the big leagues, and make a film for the love of cricket. And it shows.
There’s no adulting on display in this movie. The boys are boys, will always be boys. They strain against the boundaries that marriage brings with it.
So, vacations are a big deal for them. Marriages even more so, because with it, comes the bachelor party.
Jai’s Ragu, the bridegroom, wakes up in a Hangover-esque world, with no recollection of the night before. Next to him is the very glamorous Soppanasundari (Manisha Yadav).
Who’s clearly not the woman he’s meant to marry (Sana Althaf).
And so the game begins.
What I didn’t like was the way women, and marriage, was portrayed as the ultimate speed-breaker. The men are constantly in trouble, and the women all seem to be nags. It’s not a balanced take at men-women relationships. But, like the gentleman in front of me remarked, “Nobody watches Tamil films these days for political correctness.”
If one were to weigh Chennai 600028 2 by that scale, then it would fall really really short.
The actors themselves have changed very little. A decade later, Jai, Ajay Raj, Premgi Amaren, Nithin Sathyaa are all at different points in their careers.
Jai is a star in his own right, with several solo films to his credit.
And yet, it is as if none of that mattered.
It’s as if they treated this film as a get-away. Every scene is a celebration. They’re all just very happy to be with each other.
Like the weekend’s other release, Parandhu Sella Vaa, Venkat Prabhu leaves nothing to chance. There’s enough self-referential moments in this movie to wonder if a certain Johar had a hand in scripting this. The film’s narrative itself follows a set pattern. The boys struggle, the boys fight, the boys re-unite.
You and I have seen it all before.
This film too, is not the kind that one takes their grandmothers too. The risque level is at an all-time high; there’s a lot of drinking, glamour on display. It’s a film that fits every criteria of the ‘bottle’ genre.
And yet, there’s something about Venkat Prabhu, and this film of his, that makes it hard not to be taken in.
Maybe it’s the music. Yuvan Shankar Raja surrenders himself to the EDM gods for a pretty neat album.
Maybe its the joy. That pervades every scene the boys are in.
Maybe it’s just because Prabhu has finally made a movie that he believed in.
The Chennai 600028 2 review is a Silverscreen original article. It was not paid for or commissioned by anyone associated with the movie. Silverscreen.in and its writers do not have any commercial relationship with movies that are reviewed on the site.