Tamil Reviews

Devi 2 Review: Some Spirits, A Contract And No Scares

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Director: AL Vijay

Cast: Tamannaah Bhatia, Prabhu Deva, Kovai Sarala, Nandita Swetha

Music: Sam CS

This Devi 2 review will have more words in it than the film’s core plot. Which is that ghostly spirits sign contracts.  The film – another one of those sequels that falls flat and ought not have been made in the first place – has its flaws (some quite bad ones) but it also has a few moments (particularly around the two-hour mark, when it is apparent the film will end), and in all is a less than middling comedy that leaves no deep impression, good or bad.

Devi 2 – a sequel to 2016’s Devi – is supposedly a horror comic Gothic film. And yes, there are malevolent spirits possessing a person to achieve their own purposes, but there are hardly any scares, and little to no walking backwards, hanging upside down at night, jump scares combined with the strategic sound effect, prosthetic make up, and other tricks of the horror film trade. And the malevolent spirits need very little for all their possessing efforts.

*****

Devi 2 is co-written by AL Vijay, who also directs it. The film stars Tamannaah Bhatia, Prabhu Deva, Kovai Sarala, Nandita Swetha, Dimple Hayathi, RJ Balaji, Ajmal Ameer, Sonu Sood and others, with a voice over by Parthiban. Devi 2 is produced by GV Films’ Ishari Ganesh, and Trident Films’ Ravindran. It is shot by Ayananka Bose and edited by Anthony.

*****

Devi 2 takes off where the 2016 film sort of ended. Krishna (Prabhu Deva) fears his wife Devi (Tamannaah) may be possessed by Ruby’s spirit again, and so he arranges for a transfer to far off Mauritius. Given he was some kind of middle manager in a middle rung e-commerce company, this is a stroke of immense luck. I was once a senior creative person in a large multinational advertising agency and I put in request after request for a transfer and all I got to show for it was a series of late nights. Perhaps AL Vijay and team wanted an extra long holiday during Devi 2, before they begin work on the Jayalalithaa biopic starring Kangana.

However, to Mauritius they go. Almost instantly, they are beset upon by a presence: Kovai Sarala as Lawyer madam. And she does what she does in all these horror films: scream and screech her way through to the end. Parts of it feel self parody, and to be fair, I believe Kovai Sarala has enough acting chops and self awareness to know how horrible these performances of hers are. For someone who played Palani in Sathi Leelavathi, never missing a comic beat and (while still high pitched) outplaying two other comic actors in the scene, these repeat screeches are a fall.

There are a couple of scenes with closed doors opening on their own or doors that were open that are then shut by Krishna but then which “mysteriously” open again. These are usually pre-onset symptoms of a haunting and cues for the audience to begin expecting rocking chairs to rock on their own, human beings to float in the air and a random cat to jump. But, here in Devi 2, these are post-possession signs and have the same excitement and scare level as a drop of water from a leaky drainage pipe. And because Kanchana 3 saw Raghava Lawrence being the vessel for two ghosts, and because this film is called Devi 2, Krishna is possessed by two dead people: Ranga Reddy and Alex Britto.

The possession allows Prabhu Deva to dance in the middle of Mauritian streets, and, again, what a fall from grace. Literally. His movements and his steps here feel jerky, broken, out of beat. Like he wasn’t too enthusiastic about the film, the song, and the choreography but had to do it because of a contract. Alex and Ranga each had lovers – Nandita Swetha as Sarah, and Dimple as Eesha, and so their spirits now want to romance the two women, except Devi thinks Krishna has multiple affairs and this allows the director and producer to shoe-horn in a song in which Tamannaah as Devi dances in sheer negligees and swim suits in a bid to woo her husband back, because, otherwise, the script demands village belle Devi be dressed only in saris.

Very painfully we have arrived at an interval and thus far the biggest horror has been that the film may run over its stated duration of two hours and odd. However, the audience in this multiplex screen in a big mall in the centre of the city hasn’t stopped laughing and I have had to join in a few times for fear of being the lone dissenter in a mob.

After the break, we are sort of shown the backstory, and Devi and Lawyer akka draw up their own codicil to the contract that the ghosts have had them sign, which involves a strict rota guiding who and what can possess Krishna’s body when, and why and an exit clause. This is funny because…

Following this, the director very cleverly buys extra time for the film by playing scenes from Arjun Reddy, Ghajini, one of the V films of Ajith, and a film of Vijay. This allows Devi and Lawyer akka to come up with a convoluted elaborate plot in which the two lovers of ex Ranga and ex Alex confess their love to Krishna, thus freeing him of the ghosts. This goes horribly wrong, of course, because AL Vijay still has about 45 mins of run time to fill up, and so we have a villain who has plotted the killing and the entire thing but managed to keep it all quiet: Ajmal Ameer as Rudra. Of course his involvement in the killings is almost too transparent in the very instant he makes his first appearance in the film, but we all suspend our disbelief long enough (one hour 33.5 minutes) to allow AL Vijay to finish the story telling.

RJ Balaji as Ganesh, and Sonu Sood as Raj Khanna have cameos that are loud, and unintentionally funny, respectively.

*****

The Devi 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.

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