Freeze Frame #164: Kalakalappu

Writing a good screwball comedy sequence is like solving an n-body problem in Newtonian mechanics. But tougher — physics doesn’t have to worry about making you laugh.

My favourite by far is the one towards the end in Michael Madana Kama Rajan where pretty much every other Kamal Hassan character is pretending to be Madan. But a more recent sketch that has been climbing the charts is the car chase in Kalakalappu.

Here’s the setup: Vettipuli (Santhanam) wishes to marry Madhavi (Anjali). Madhavi wishes to marry Seenu (Vimal), and the two decide to elope — it all goes south, and he ends up having to take Madhavi’s grandfather hostage in order to escape Vettipuli and his goons. Marudamuthu (Manobala) wishes to get his daughter to marry Vettipuli, and decides that kidnapping Madhavi would solve the problem. He thinks, however, that Seenu is Vettipuli’s friend.

All of these bodies carom around for around 10 minutes of inspired hilarity, in three cars that keep going around a few village streets. It plays out so smoothly that it takes a while to realize the skill that must’ve gone into the writing.

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2 thoughts on “Freeze Frame #164: Kalakalappu

  1. S says:

    Ha, Kalakalappu is a family favorite! My husband is addicted to it and keeps coming back to it (something he rarely does when it comes to the movies, Seinfeld is another matter). It took me a while to warm up to it, but I got hooked eventually. When I watched it the first time couple of years ago I said “bah, Soul Kitchen copy.” And that didn’t let me see past the fact that beyond the basic premise of ramshackle family restaurant that needs serious revamping, everything else Sundar C has made his own. After constantly (re)watching segments whenever it was playing on Netflix, I’m tickled every time I see it now. I do like the car scene you discuss here but my favorite is the “Amitabh mama” sequence starting here… “Bad time” and all that. 🙂

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