Dagaalty movie review: Santhanam's comedian-turned-actor stint cannot salvage this illogical, unfunny mess
In Dagaalty, Santhanam's efforts to masquerade himself as a superstar clone sticks out like a sore thumb.
Even a few years back, Santhanam was the leading comedian in Kollywood, and was more in demand than some of the heroes he worked with. At that time he was known as India’s highest ‘daily wage’ worker who used to be paid in lakhs for a day’s ‘call sheet’. One fine day, Santhanam decided that he had enough playing the ‘second fiddle’ as hero’s best friend and decided to turn a hero with a vengeance. Santhanam as a hero had some middling hits which were basically slapstick comedy capers made on a tight budget.
Suddenly, Santhanam decided to do a typical Kollywood big hero mass masala, normally done by a Vijay or Ajith. And the result is Dagaalty, which is hugely disappointing since it lacks a plot and is a tedious watch. Vijay Anand, the writer-director of the film, has put some scenes which you have seen in big hero films and references to popular movies. It seems as if Santhanam wants to prove that he can do everything that a mainstream hero can do, whether it be a fight sequence or a dance, and do it better. Sadly, the comedian-turned-hero’s efforts to masquerade himself as a superstar clone sticks out like a sore thumb.
The story itself is etched out of various earlier star films. Guru is a Mumbai based fraudster, who works for a local goon Bhai (Radha Ravi). One day Bhai asks Guru to find a girl from a painting for a multi-millionaire Vijay Samrat (Tarun Arora), who promises a reward of Rs 10 crore. Guru finds out the girl in the painting lives in Tiruchendur in Tamil Nadu and goes in search of her. It turns out that the girl is Malli (Ritika Sen), an aspiring female director who has a story for a potential Ajit, Vijay or Suriya film. After a few escapades, Guru convinces Malli that her story would be more appropriate for a Shah Rukh Khan film and as he knows the actor’s secretary. They soon board a train to journey from Tamil Nadu to Bollywood. But after he and his friend (Yogi Babu) hands her over to Samrat, our hero has a change of heart.
There are logical loopholes galore and no reason is given as to why the villain wants a girl from a painting and why he is willing to pay a staggering sum for her abduction. Songs and fights pop out of nowhere, and most of the time Santhanam is spewing punchlines at the audiences for no reason. You can’t say it is a spoof, as the villain supposed to be in New York in a scene tells his henchman in a serious tone – “Get my jet ready”.
The characterisation of the heroine is the ultimate example of a loosu ponnu (naive and idiotic girl) you have seen in many Tamil films. In one scene Santhanam tells Ritika – “Why don’t you come with me to Mumbai and become the new Farah Khan ?” and she nods her head in agreement. In the climax it becomes slapstick with a cameo appearance by top Telugu comedian Brahmanandam. The only redeeming factor is some scenes between Santhanam and the current favourite comedian Yogi Babu, which provides a few laughs.
Normally a Santhanam film is a time-pass affair but the not-so-funny Dagaalty will leave you exhausted, even though it has run time of only 2 hours.
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