Accused No 1 movie review: Santhanam's film is an engaging slapstick comedy not concerned with drama or plot

Santhanam's ability to lampoon conventional notions of macho-heroism, rampant in Tamil films, is what makes Accused No 1 work.

Sreedhar Pillai July 26, 2019 15:21:14 IST

3/5

If you are not particular about plotline or logic, Santhanam’s Accused No 1 (A1) is an engaging slapstick comedy with plenty 'howlarious' moments. And with a run time of less than 2 hours (107 minutes), it does not activate your thinking mind, just sit back and enjoy the fun.

Santhanam, till a few years back, was a leading comedian in Tamil cinema, playing the hero's friend or a buffoon with a separate comedy track. One day, he decided he'd had enough of side roles and turned hero, almost with a vengeance. Now that he's doing leading hero roles, his films look like a spoof of the ‘hero image’ in Tamil cinema. He seems to be telling his former ‘hero’ friends – “If you can be a hero, I can do it better”!

Accused No 1 movie review Santhanams film is an engaging slapstick comedy not concerned with drama or plot

A still from Accused No 1. YouTube screengrab

There is nothing new in the story line of debutant director K Johnson, who won the award Naalaya Iyakkunar (tomorrow's director) at a channel show and started assisting Santhanam. Santhanam himself has acknowledged during the promotions of the film that he believes in teamwork. He has an array of assistant directors and creative writers to back his efforts of making people laugh on screen. The idea is to create as many stupid moments that will make people chuckle, punctuated by film’s outrageous over-the-top depiction of Kollywood stereotypes.

The plot hinges on a love track between Saravanan (Santhanam) and an angelic ‘loosu ponnu’ (dumb girl) Divya (Tara Alisha Berry). She wants to marry a daring Brahmin boy and mistakes our hero to be him, who is from another caste, and falls madly in love with him at first sight. Her father Ramanathan (Yatin Karyekar), a strong-willed, flawless and ‘upright’ bureaucrat, is opposed to the match. Divya, who thinks her father is the best man in the world, challenges Saravanan to find flaws in Ramanathan's character, posing the condition that if he is able to find even one, she would marry him. Saravanan takes up the challenge as he believes everyone has a weak spot.

There is not much of a story or drama in Accused No 1; the director has used Santhanam's talent to its optimum. His ability to lampoon conventional notions of macho-heroism, rampant in Tamil films, is what makes it work. The film has also roped in an army of comedy actors – MS Bhaskar, Thangadurai, Manohar, Sai Kumar and Motta Rajendran. Tara Alisha, who plays the female lead, has hardly anything to do. The film has some Brahmin bashing and a pinch of preachy dialogues. The film is more about ‘hilarious comedy scenes’ with a lot of improvisation, in order to elicit maximum laughs.

A1 is what Kollywood fans would call a ‘timepass entertainer’. It is less concerned about the plot and is only interested in delivering sharp one-liners to make the audiences laugh. In one scene, Santhanam wears a T-Shirt with a message that sums up his idea of entertainment – “Remember, You are dreaming”!

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