A breezy, rib-tickling laugh riot throughout

Tamil (U) ***
Director: Badri
Cast: Shiva, Isha Talwar, Santhanam, Prakash Raj, Kovai Sarala, Sathyan, Ilavarasu, Soori, Monisha, Manobala, Blaaze

It’s deja vu. If K Balachander, in 1981, inspired by Hrishikesh Mukherjee’s 1979 cult comic classic Gol Maal, brought to Tamil screens Thillu Mullu with his mercurial protege — style king Rajnikanth helming the eponymous roles played by Amol Palekar to inimitable perfection, director Badri, in 2013, revisits the genre with the same title with Shiva, reprising the twinsome role. Knowing that revisiting and remaking classics is a tricky and tough task, Badri, while not tampering with overall structure, has tampered with the screenplay, stylising it to today’s times and tidings. If the versatile Balachander matched the original with sober treatment and the Rajni aura ensuring it hit the jackpot, Badri turns it a little crude, blatantly commercial and over the top fare. Where Badri’s fare suffers the most is its tiringly longish screentime.

In Thillu Mullu, Badri turns the picky and punctilious boss Siva Gurunathan, a pious and ardent devotee of Lord Murugan. So for Pasupathi (Shiva), life is on a low after losing the legal battle over his father’s property and added onus of marrying off his sister. He joins Gurunathan’s branded bottled water firm. Given to all possible noxious habits, taboo with his boss for which he would tick him off, Pasupathi plays footsie to his boss’ severe disposition and strict demands. Needless to say, the beau’s craving for T20 cricket has him invent a twin brother in cat-eyed, karate kicking Kanthan, when Gurunathan sees him at the stadium, when, in fact, he had taken leave of absence to attend to his mother’s illness. Pasupathi/Kanthan is also in love with boss’ daughter Janani. Pasupathi is at his wits end to see his deceit is not discovered since Gurunathan seeks to hire Kanthan as his daughter’s karate tutor. It’s a messy-mirt­h­ful ride with Shiva, Santha­nam and Prakash Raj delivering the goods playing cat and mouse game with gusto, while Isha makes a petite screen presence. Faults notwith­st­a­n­d­ing, Thillu Mullu turns out to be a breezy comic caper. Enjoy!

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