Hiphop Tamizha Adhi is back with his latest Naan Sirithal (If I Laugh), a youth-oriented musical with a message, directed by debutant Raana, based on his short film Keka Beka Keka Beka.
Raana, who worked as an assistant to noted director Shankar, had shown the short film to superstar Rajinikanth, who raved about it, and motivated him to make it into a feature film. However, Naan Sirithal lacks the freshness and the punch of Aadhi’s earlier films. The plot is a predictable mix of romance, friendship, emotions, and comedy, laced with preachy messaging.
One of Tamil cinema’s favourite subjects is about the 'hero' suffering from a rare disorder, that leads to twists and turns in the narrative. Here, our hero, named Gandhi (Adhi) aptly, is a non-violent do-gooder, who always lends a helping hand to those in trouble. Gandhi’s life revolves around his work, family of loving parents, and his lady love Ankita (Iswarya Menon). However, he suffers from 'nervous laughter' or its medical condition pseudobulbar affect. In other words, he bursts out laughing during emotional moments of stress, which creates havoc in his life. He loses his job and girlfriend, and gets drawn into a turf battle between two deadly gangsters Dilli Babu (KS Ravikumar) and Sakkarai Das (Ravi Mariya).
The entire film operates on this wafer-thin plotline of the hero suffering from nervous laughter, which initially works but later, becomes tiring. And the subplot about the villain's confrontation with the hero over mistaken identity makes it even more contrived. The trouble with Raana’s script is that as a short film, it may have worked but as a feature film, it just does not have the stuff to keep the audience engaged for a little over two hours.
A few scenes make you genuinely laugh out though they are far and few in between. In the first half, when Gandhi goes to watch an Ajith, and later, a Vijay film, he bursts out laughing in the most emotionally charged scene in the movie. The fans of the actor pounce upon him for 'disrespecting' their heroes and beat him up.
But there is a scene where Adhi tries to show how Hindi is thrust on the locals. This messaging sort of sticks out like a sore thumb.
Adhi does what is expected of him. Iswarya has hardly anything much to do. There are a host of YouTube stand-up comedians, including Eruma Saani Vijay and Shah Ra among others. But it is Badva Gopi as the hero’s father and Munishkanth as a comic villain who are a delight to watch. The music of Tamizha is just average, with the passable 'Breakup' song.
The message of the film is it is better to suppress your innermost emotions with a smile on your face. On the whole, it is just a passable Aadhi film, which could have been better. The entertainment elements are there but there is a lack of a cohesive story to package them.