Achcham Yenbadhu Madamaiyada
Director: Gautham Vasudev Menon
Cast: Silambarasan, Manjima Mohan, Baba Sehgal
True to the title of his film, Achcham Yenbadhu Madamaiyada or Fear is Foolishness, lyrics from the popular MG Ramachandran’s 1960 work, Mannadhi Mannan, Gautham Vasudev Menon turns his hero, Silambarasan, into a superman -- a fantasy figure that Tamil cinema celebrates so often. Never mind that such antics seem juvenile in contemporary cinematic lingo.
And our hero (his name is withheld till the end), an MBA graduate from an middleclass Chennai family, embarks on a road journey on his bike, and his pillion rider is Leela (Manjima Mohan), a budding screenwriter and friend of his sister (looks like a lift from the director’s earlier work, Vinnaithaandi Varuvaayaa).
For what appeared like the most boring part of the narrative, the entire first half has the lead pair working on a preamble to a love story. An umpteen number of times the hero is caught glancing at the attractive Leela, but he looks away every time her eyes turn towards him. Felt like some 17th century love story. Come on, boys and girls can do better than this today.
Post intermission, the bike veers into a dangerously dramatic lane -- which is full of chases and shootouts. And what a bloody mess it is. One loses count of the number of bodies that lies scattered in hospital wards, in police stations and in private houses -- with the hero toting a revolver which never runs out of bullets.
And the absurdity does not end here, and we see an abundance of it a couple of years later, when Mr Hero turns into a cop, donning crisp khaki and sporting dark glasses, to complete his unfinished mission.
Interjecting into the plot is his sleuthing to find the criminals behind the ghastly attack on Leela’s family early on in the film that actually pushes him to press the trigger. A one-man army -- Bond and Iron Man rolled into one -- he vanquishes his adversaries with a knock on the face or a kick on the belly or a karate twist of the arm or a gun shot. His battlegrounds vary from the inside of a train compartment to deserted highways to lonely hospital wards where even ghosts may fear to tread. But our hero, fired as he is by the celebrated MGR song, cannot be stopped as he marches on like a battering ram. Why let fear overpower and defeat you, he keeps muttering in an irritatingly large number of voiceovers -- which often impede the flow of imagery. There are other voiceovers as well -- a lazy way of telling a story on screen.
Even on the performance platform, both Silambarasan and Mohan are largely unimpressive, the chemistry between them soggy -- which Menon probably tries to pep up with some great visual shots of Kanyakumari and a few AR Rahman compositions.