Cast: Trisha Krishnan, Ganesh Venkatraman, Satyam Rajesh, Sushma Raj, Jayaprakash
Once upon a time, the ghost in Indian cinema was invariably a woman. She wore a white sari, had long hair and sang mournful songs -- seducing the hero into a dark jungle at the end of which lay an eerie mansion. But Nayagi’s ghost, Gayathri (played Trisha Krishnan), is always dressed in brilliant colours (often shades of red) and lives in a garishly painted bungalow with magical powers. In fact, one of the opening scenes shows her getting off her bed and commanding the toothpaste to travel to her. Along with the cream comes the brush, and mademoiselle ghost then goes about making herself attractive.
But when an unmarried couple -- Sanjay (essayed by a comic Satyam Rajesh) and Sandhya (Sushma Raj) -- walk into Gayathri’s abode, she is bent on teaching the man a lesson, for he is all set to cheat his girlfriend by getting her into bed with a false promise. If this is not boringly dated, director Govi has an equally stupid preamble to his plot.
A village on the outskirts of Chennai has seen so many mysterious deaths of men that the administration seals it off -- its inhabitants having already fled the place. And it is into this village -- where Gayathri lives with her father (another ghost portrayed by Jayaprakash) -- that Sanjay and Sandhya drive into. They do not notice the warning signs outside the village, and, what is more, they fail to find their destination, Chengleput, while driving from Chennai. Come on, even a six-year-old from the city can spot Chengleput -- which is a stone’s throw away!
Nayagi -- after a generous offering of apparitional antics, some of which are more comical than devilish -- lays on a platter a moral question. Do not cheat your partner, and Gayathri, who once dreamt of being a Nayagi or actress and was horribly cheated, plays Mother Angel trying to reform wayward men! If they do not fall in line, they are killed. All is fair in this kangaroo court run by the father and daughter.
I often wonder why writers and helmers underestimate audience intelligence, thrusting on to them plots that are so low on plausibility that even without one’s thinking cap, it is hard to digest. And must actors with promise -- like Krishnan and Ganesh Venkatraman (who plays a cinematographer) -- allow themselves to be part of such inanity?
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