Comali movie review: Jayam Ravi carries a largely lighthearted film on his shoulders, as both a student and a joker

The crackling onscreen bonding between Ravi and Yogi makes Comali enjoyable to a large extent.

Sreedhar Pillai August 15, 2019 13:47:24 IST

3/5

If you are looking for a weekend time-pass fun ride, Comali fits the bill. The Jayam Ravi film is lighthearted and quite engaging.

Comali movie review Jayam Ravi carries a largely lighthearted film on his shoulders as both a student and a joker

Jayam Ravi in a still from Comali

Debutant writer and director Pradeep Ranganathan keeps the laughs coming, though they are far and few between in the second half. The trailer created a ruckus due to the controversial dig taken at superstar Rajinikanth and his entry into politics. References and visuals of Rajinikanth have been deleted and replaced by politician and actor Nanjil Sampath speaking about the Cauvery river water issue, another Tamil Nadu-specific topic which has been dragging on for years.

The film begins with the voiceover of Ravi (Jayam Ravi) from his initial school days in late 1980s to a plus two student in the late 1990s. Like any other youngster during his adolescence, he falls for his classmate Nikita (Samyukta Hegde). He gifts her a idol which his father had lovingly given him saying it is a special family heirloom. The moment he gifts her, Ravi is involved in a road accident that leaves him in a coma for 16 years. Ravi wakes up in the house of his best friend Mani (Yogi Babu), now married to his sister. He is unable to cope up with the changes around him, and finds it difficult to adjust to the needs of the 21st century.

He finds that human values and feelings have totally undergone a metamorphosis and people are not opening their heart, and are caught in social media whirl. The film throws a lot of pop-culture references and interpretations of life in a world dominated by the internet and social media. Through Ravi’s character, the director tells us how the '80s and '90s life and relationships were far more simple and uncomplicated.

Post interval, the story takes a U-turn, and focuses more on how Ravi manages to survive in today’s world. He starts his own YouTube channel named appropriately – Comali (Joker), and gets a job as a guard in a antique museum. A technically savvy girl (Kajal Aggarwal) helps him in his efforts to get back his missing family heirloom. However, at the end, the message is loud and clear that it is old-fashioned humanity – compassion, love, kindness and goodness that triumphs over a modern technology-driven world.

What actually works the best in the movie is the simple and straightforward story and nostalgia unleashed in the first half. There is a scene in the second half, where Ravi gives a long drawn out lecture to other characters on how human emotions are the same despite change in technology and culture shocks. The second half looks like a different film as the lighthearted banter changes to a more serious outlook of life. Like all recent Tamil movies, Comali becomes preachy and full of melodrama in the climax, and lacks a logical ending.

But Ravi carries the show, whether it is as a school kid or as the Rip Van Winkle, who was in a coma for 16 years. And his scenes with Yogi are crackling with humour, and bring the house down. Yogi is in good form with his one-liners, though there are a few regular body-shaming dialogues.  Kajal is cute but is limited by her character sketch. It is Samyukta who shines in a better written role. KS Ravikumar, with a negative streak as a politician, is perfect. The music of Hip Hop Aadhi is a plus. The two songs, ‘Paisa’ and ‘Nanba’, are well picturised.

Overall, Comali is packaged as a jolly-feel-good entertainer, laced with emotions and nostalgia. The crackling onscreen bonding between Ravi and Yogi makes it enjoyable to a large extent.

Rating: ***

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