Disclaimers: I personally am a huge fan of Siddharth, Genelia and Prakash Raj. Siddharth, I have always liked him from his ‘Boys’ days, there is something about this chap that keeps telling me that he is destined for far greater glory and accolades than he has already received. Genelia, I don’t know what it is about her that I like, but when it comes to playing the ‘girl next door’ characters, I honestly believe there is nobody in the Tamil and Telugu movie industry to beat her. It used to be Trisha at one point in time, but nowadays she looks quite jaded and Genelia has eased into this particular niche quite easily. Prakash Raj, I don’t think I am going to waste any time explaining why I like him. Maybe I can put up a separate post, or maybe even a separate blog to sing his praises.
Now before you guys wonder why I am talking about Siddharth when he is in no way involved with Santosh Subramaniyam (“SS”), the fact still remains that “Bommarillu” (the original Telugu movie of which SS is a remake of) probably remains my best movie of 2007 in the ‘heart-warming family entertainer’ category. And the fact that it starred Siddharth and Genelia in probably the cutest and warmest characters that they will ever get to play adds to the charm that Bommarillu has for me. In any case, this post is about SS and so it shall be, however, comparisons are inevitable and that’s where the spoilers come into play.
Even though I tried to approach SS with an open heart and no expectations, I still am human and the joker Jeyam Ravi didn’t help things by trying to ham his lines and blindly do what Siddharth had done with the character. The fact remains that Siddharth and the original director, Bhaskar defined what the main protagonist would be like and they brought him to life on screen in such a memorable way. However, Raja, the director of the Tamil version did what most smart ‘re-makers’ would do, which is to pretty much take the entire script of the movie, subtly modify it to match local (in this case Tamil) tastes, don’t mess around with any of the situations, characters, dialogues, etc, and package it nicely so that it becomes a winner. And believe me, Raja has pretty much made a living of it with movies like “M Kumaran S/O Mahalakshmi”, “Jeyam”, “Unakkum Enakkum Something Something” and now SS. I would have loved to see some differences that Jeyam Ravi and Raja could have brought into the character considering how different Siddharth and Ravi actually are. While Siddharth has made a living out of playing the ‘brooding’ characters, Ravi is more in the ‘boy next door’ mould and I would have loved to see something subtly brought out to this effect.
Hey hold on, do we see a pattern here. How come all the above movies are all Jeyam Ravi starrers. Surprise, surprise, Jeyam Ravi is the younger brother of Raja. Now that kind of explains how and why that nasal animal gets one release almost every 18 odd months. In fact, it will be interesting to see how his “Dhaam Dhoom” fares considering that he’s got Kangana Ranaut for company. The trailers look promising though.
Moving on to SS, as I mentioned before the story itself revolves around Santosh and his dad Subramaniyam, who alongwith being a successful Construction magnate, is also pretty much the only decision-maker for the extended Subramaniyam family. This results in Santosh’s life being completely controlled by his dad, right from his underwears to the size of Poori pieces that he eats for breakfast. This strengthens Santosh’s resolve to keep two things completely personal and out of his dad’s hands – his career and his marriage. When Genelia enters his life, Santosh is truly happy for the very first time in his life. How and whether he manages to end up with Genelia ‘happily ever after’ forms the remaining story.
Some of the pros and cons of Santosh Subramaniyam are –
Clean movie In this day and age where double entendres and skimpy costumes have become the order of the day, SS remains one of the cleanest movies without even a hint of resorting to cheap tactics to ensure that the movie reaches down into the B and C centers.
Relatable script and characters All the situations and characters in the movie are people and instances to which any city-bred boy or girl can easily identify with. The friends, the siblings, the nephew, the niece, the servant, all seem to be picked out of our daily lives and juxtaposed into the movie. This adds a lot to the credibility of the message of the movie. It makes it that much more relatable.
Devi Sri Prasad’s rocking music and its picturisation DSP simply rocks, and is at his usual best belting out chartbuster after chartbuster in this movie. The main theme music is so memorable that it keeps haunting you for hours after you have walked out of the theatre. What adds to this wonderful music are the sheer locales of New Zealand and wherever else these songs have been picturised. The music and the picturisation are huge pluses to this movie.
The comic scenes All the scenes in which Santosh’s friends are involved are memorable ones, not only because of the situations in which they are in, but also because of the sheer calibre of the guys involved in them. Santhanam (of Lollu Sabha fame), and the other two guys (one of whom is the sidekick in “Unnale Unnale” and the other one from “Chennai 600028”) are simply amazing when it comes to the facial expressions and the timing of dialog delivery. This is again a huge plus to this movie.
Jeyam Ravi Now this is one actor who has consistenly managed to disappoint me in all his outings on screen. While this guy pretty much has all it takes to become one of the leading heroes of his generation in the Tamil industry, his tendency to pick only remakes (in which he has to pretty much try and copy the original hero) and his nasal voice make him amazingly irritating. He would have done well had he gone the original script way and done some more memorable ‘boy next door’ kind of roles, but he didn’t and that is why he is among the ‘wannabes’ among his bunch of peers, which in my opinion is being led by Bharath (of Boys fame).
Sayaji Shinde In my opinion, this was probably the only wrong casting in the whole movie. Maybe they could’ve looked around a little and found a better actor for this role. They could probably have cast the original actor from Bommarillu, considering that the Tamil audiences have seen him in other roles, like the villain from Saamy and such.
Overall rating and recommendation If you are someone who has not watched the original movie and are looking for a wholesome entertainer, this movie would have to be rated 5 on 5 from me. However, if you have watched the original movie and are carrying the baggage with you, this movie would only fare around 3/3.5 out of 5 stars.
In any case, this is a ‘must watch’ movie with your father if possible, and your family on a nice sunny Sunday. It is well worth the cost of the ticket.