I dreamt of being a boy scout last night, so let me start with the most charitable thing I can say about Padikkadhavan:

It is a steaming pile of crap.

There, my good deed is done for the day. Now let me talk about the movie.

Dhanush seems to have gotten into the business of making movies that have the same name as his illustrious father-in-law’s movies. This business is two movies old (Polladhavan and this one), and if I were to do a pairwise comparison of these movies in terms of quality, I’d say the score is now 1-1.

Padikkadhavan tells the story of Radhakrishnan a.k.a Rocky, the titular black sheep of a well-educated family. Rocky spends his time hanging out with his equally no-good friends, who convince him that the best way to get his family to respect him is to marry an educated girl. Enter Gayathri (Tamanna), cue much nonsensical wooing while assorted goons ostensibly search for Dhanush in the background. And then…

Now this part is actually interestingly done — with three different bad guys in the picture (Atul Kulkarni, Suman and Sayaji Shinde), the plot finds a way to link them up in a manner that is more interesting than having them all on one side and the hero on the other. But before you could stop to admire the way the plot has set up the conflict, the screenplay throws more crap at you and you’re left sitting there wondering if it could get any more stupid.

The trouble, I think, is that when the director sits down to narrate the story, he doesn’t start off by saying, “So you have this guy named…” He seems to start it off by saying, “So you have The Hero…” Or worse still, “So we have Dhanush on board, and here’s what we’re gonna have him do…”

What this means is, you don’t have a real character put in a situation where he has to be heroic. You have The Hero doing his shtick. There’s never a moment when you actually buy into either the character or his motivation. So when he’s beating up twenty goons or trying to get the girl, you’re wondering, “Okay, so he’s gonna win this round, what next?”

There were times when I looked at what some character did and wondered, “How does a maker pitch this role to this actor?” Is there a filmmaking equivalent of a date rape drug? Or do they just plonk a huge wad of cash in front of the actors and ask them to turn up and do what they’re told. Maybe they should save some of that money and and use it to offer free lobotomies to the audience. Then again, I did spend the price of a ticket to go watch this, as did a bunch of others in the movie theatre, so why bother?

Maybe we should be thanful that curiosity only kills cats. If it worked on humans, we’d be extinct by now.


One thought on “Padikkadhavan

  1. S says:

    The indubitable fact about writing so entertainingly about a “steaming pile of crap” is that, years later, when the said thing is stale as ever, the write-up remains…ever so hot!

    This and Maryan are the only two Dhanush movies I’ve yet to see. While I mean to catch Marayan when I can (and while I believe that “education” as a cure-all is way overrated), I pray to never cross paths with Padikkathavan lest he becomes…pidikkathavan.

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