Gulaebaghavali movie review: Prabhudheva, Revathi's heist comedy is enjoyable but patchy

Gulaebaghavali doesn’t quite excel in the writing or execution, but what it still manages to achieve — thanks to some well thought out comic stretches — is to entertain in installments

Haricharan Pudipeddi January 12, 2018 09:15:03 IST

2.5/5

Gulaebaghavali  is not one of those films you could easily write off, by say, calling it a mindless entertainer. Although cut from the same cloth as last year’s terrific adventure-based horror comedy Maragatha Naanayam, this Prabhudheva-starrer falls short of being a worthy competitor. It is undoubtedly a cut above most other films in a similar space and enjoyable too — but in parts. While one might pick issues with the film, especially when the spotlight falls on the romance portion, it still has moments which truly work and make us cheer.

The story opens in the pre-Independence era. A goldsmith, after stealing from his British master, stashes a box of diamonds near Gulaebaghavali temple. Many years later, the goldsmith’s son, on his death bed, lets his son know about the hidden treasure. Prabhudheva, a conman, who makes a living by earning commissions off he sale of rare artifacts, is assigned the job of retrieving the stash, which comes with its own set of challenges. He’s accompanied by three others — Muniskanth, Hansika and Revathi — and whether or not they succeed in the endeavor forms the crux of the story.

Gulaebaghavali movie review Prabhudheva Revathis heist comedy is enjoyable but patchy

Prabhudheva and Hansika Motwani in Gulaebaghavali

Gulaebaghavali doesn’t quite excel in the writing or execution, but what it still manages to achieve — thanks to some well thought out comic stretches — is to entertain in installments. One of the best examples is the chase sequence and all the hullabaloo which leads to the interval. Amidst all the flaws which stick out like a sore thumb, veteran actress-filmmaker Revathi’s portion is the film’s silver lining. She gets a terrific introduction scene and what’s even more exciting is that we are not told a sad story about why she earns her livelihood by conning people. We’re made to believe that’s the way she is and that’s a relief. I haven’t seen a filmmaker give a woman — a veteran — so much scope to perform in a Tamil film in a long time and for this very reason, director Kalyaan deserves special mention.

While Prabhudheva’s role could have been played by anyone else, he certainly makes the difference with his dance moves and also shows off his action skills. Hansika joins the mission because she’s caught red-handed while trying to con someone, and we’re told she does so to support the education of her sister. Honestly, she never comes across as someone who is in desperate need of financial support. If there’s one southern actress who has made a career by just looking good on screen, it has to be Hansika, who consistently disappoints in every role she picks.

If not for the battalion of comedians — especially the portion featuring Rajendran in the second half — Gulaebaghavali would’ve fallen flat. Still, the enjoyable portions, like the one featuring some men fighting over a human skeleton in the climax in particular, stand out and makes up for everything else that didn’t quite work.

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