It’s been over 12 hours since I saw Iruttu Araiyil Murattu Kuththu and I still haven’t found one nice to thing to say about the movie that isn’t ironic. Here are the ones I thought of: It elicited one laugh from me. I like the fact that I could, if I wanted, look at this film from a feminist perspective and enjoy the fact that the entire film exists because a ghost who has awakened – in more ways than one – wants to have sex real bad. I also like how so many people in Thailand speak Tamil.
But let me not get ahead of myself. I haven’t watched director Santhosh Jayakumar’s first film (also an adult comedy) titled Hara Hara Mahadevaki, so maybe my expectations were just a shade above ground level. If Iruttu Araiyil Murattu Kuththu is anything to go by, I am never again going to watch a Jayakumar movie. No loss for him because, clearly, his cinema is targeted at engineering college boys who don’t get to have any sex till they get married. Which is a lot of repressed young men, so much so that the virgin engineering school grad is pretty much a trope in regular conversation. As a woman, I couldn’t appreciate one thing about this film. In fact, it took me back to one of my oldest film grouses: that after all these years I still see absolutely nothing redeeming or funny about There’s Something About Mary. I watched it with my then boyfriend and when he laughed, I had serious doubts if it was enough reason for me to dump him.
Veera (Gautham Karthik), a baby-faced playboy (who has never had sex, idk, how does that work?) is set up with Thendral (Vaibhavi Shandilya) in an arranged marriage situation. Her father’s list of requirements isn’t very large but when the parents meet (without the girl and boy) Thendral’s father tells the boy’s family that among other things, the boy must be able to “satisfy” his daughter for at least 25 minutes, setting the tone and direction for the movie, as far as I am concerned. Veera and Thendral meet; Thendral – a seemingly confident, forward, secure young woman – suggests they go away on a trip (with friends) for a week so that they get to know each other. This, she says, will help her decide if she wants to marry him or not.
So, dressed in classic Indian holiday clothes – floral shirts and garish pants for men, skimpy clothes for the women – they are off to Pattaya, where they’ve rented a massive beach villa. This is exactly about 15 minutes of the movie and we’ve already seen two alarmingly forced songs, and several attempts at sexual jokes – not even just innuendo – that fall flat. (If you’ve gotten this far, and it wasn’t your job to sit through the film, then I congratulate you. Send me an address, I shall send my favourite Malgova mangoes to you as a token of my appreciation.)
Anyhow, mangoes aside, now on is when all the action begins. Literally. The villa is haunted by a female ghost that seems to have been self obsessed as well as enthusiastic about sex. There’s a metal dildo on her dresser, paintings of herself in provocative clothes and poses on walls, and she’s generally floating around in a muddied but revealing outfit trying to get laid so that her spirit gets, well, laid to rest. From pulling down men’s shorts to clambering into the bed covers and gesturing the popular action for a hand job, the ghost of the woman is dead set on her agenda. I like how this trope of a sex-focused man is turned on its head to it being a woman with very obvious sexual desire. Except I wish the desire were manifest in a live woman and not a ghost. The live women in the film are either entirely coy or caricatured as overly sexual, whatever that means. Kavya, the second lead played by Yashika Aanand, is shown to have an alcohol problem, which leads to an “overactive” libido. Thendral, on the other hand, very directly tells Veera that she wants to be spoilt, pampered and impressed if he expects to have sex with her.
The week they spend in the villa is a boring string of heavy, sexual instances disguised as jokes – popping a handful of “Viagra” pills giving the boys an erection strong enough to shift tables from one room to another without holding it in their hands; Kavya wearing a tee shirt that says “Orgasm” where the ‘M’ is the McDonald’s logo; introduction of two homosexual characters, one of whom has random, and possibly non-consensual, sex with a straight guy, Jack (Rajendran, who is in good enough shape to give any of the young men a run for their ill-earned money) and all the homophobic jokes you’d expect to follow from that. The women are all needlessly and heavily sexualised but I am not even going to start on it because, clearly, this movie sets the expectation for it right at the start. If I go down that road, it’d be like a blind person critiquing Van Gogh’s art. If you could still sit through all this, there is, finally, the small matter of almost all the actors (except Rajendran and Karunakaran) being entirely incapable of bringing any acting to the table. The entire film has the air of watching a class 12 theatrical production, staged when no teachers were present.
Needless to say, Iruttu Araiyil Murattu Kuththu doesn’t understand humour, sex or Thailand. If I were you, and I wanted a laugh to ease myself this weekend, I’d read the news of what our government is up to.
(Disclaimer: All puns in this review were entirely unintentional and coincidental.)