Tamil Reviews

Peechankai Review: Mildly Engaging Comedy, Not Much Else

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Peechankai could have been infinitely better, if not for its confusing ideals. The premise – a man whose hand does not listen to him – had a lot of scope for humour. Debutant director Ashok, though, chooses slapstick. Nothing wrong with that, of course, but that really is all what he sets up his scenes for.

There are double entendres, references to sex, and some helpful background score to help us understand that we are in adult-humour territory. Who scores this cue, anyway?

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Is it a template that an editor picks off his library? Uniform across all movies, this …piece of music, often featuring a woman moaning, is right out of the 90s. And, so cringe-worthy. Surely, there isn’t need for a musical nudge when there are obvious verbal hints? A politician dances with a skimpily-clad woman, another watches videos of himself and his wife, while someone else makes a covert reference to masturbation – that just had to be there, well in theme, you see.

The adolescent humour though, isn’t what I signed up for, or expected, after a promising start.

Peechankai’s lead is named a name that is time-worn, and an entirely corrupt version of his original name. A pick-pocket well known in police circles, S. Muthu, with that descriptive period between his name and initials, is fondly called ‘Smudhu’ by the police. That sticks. He’s no longer S. Muthu even among his group of thugs. He’s Smudhu everywhere.

After this lovely beginning though, the script veers between needless romantic sequences, and an over-the-top gangster trajectory. Smudhu also suffers a sudden change of heart when he hears that he’s robbed the money meant for a wedding, develops a conscience, falls in love, gets dumped, and becomes a thug again.

Actor RS Karthik as Smudhu, is particularly noteworthy as a man whose hand develops a mind of its own. Director Ashok doesn’t care much for technicality, he bestows a name upon the condition, calls in a ‘neurologist’ to dole out some dubious explanation.

Meanwhile, Smudhu joins a group of henchmen for hire, and somehow, becomes a target himself. There are genuinely funny instances, of course – well into the second half, but the humour rarely veers from slapstick. When it does though, it’s a laugh riot – and in these moments, I see the kind of film that Peechankai could have been.

And even more vividly, what it has become, instead.

*****

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