Triples review: All of Tamil cinema can’t save this bummer of a web series
The biggest shame with Triples is that it had potential. A sharper commentary on the world and a cleverer dialogue writer could have made Triples an absolute delight of a show.
It is not uncommon among Tamil filmmakers in general, and the Karthik Subbaraj production house in particular, to want to pay homage to the past. Triples chooses Crazy Mohan’s oeuvre. Ram, played by a surprisingly adept Jai, is on the verge of marrying Mythili (Madhuri MJ), after a heart-breaking divorce from Meera (Vani Bhojan). Situation has it that Meera wants to reunite with Ram. His friends Cheenu (Rajkumar), Maadhu (Vivek Prasanna) and his wife Janaki (Namita Krishnamurthy) decide to play cupid.
For romance, Triples rests solely and comfortably on painful Tamil cinema tropes. In a meeting where a professional warns Ram and his friends about sexual harassment, he sees and falls in love with Meera. He stalks her, calls her unsolicited, misinforms and even manipulates her, after which she falls in love with him. Apparently, some book-gifting and edible coffee cups is all it takes for a woman to fall in love.
For comedy, Triples milks the Crazy Mohan style in addition to other Tamil cinema low-hanging fruits. The lead characters Ram, Mythili, Janaki, Maadhu, Cheenu etc are all named after personalities in the Crazy Mohan universe. There is throwback to some iconic moments all the way from Michael Madana Kama Rajan to Panchathantiram and Vasool Raja MBBS — you will soon see a bunch of YouTube videos about the “34.87 references in Triples that you may not have noticed”.
There is also the ‘multiple groups of quirky people chasing the MacGuffin’ sort of screenplay that culminates in a clumsy climax. This certainly had great potential, alas! There is a character named Swapna, because later in the film, you’ll have someone say ‘Soppanasundari-ya yaaru vechirukka’, even in an entirely predictable and patently unfunny way.
Overall, though, very little of this works. And not for lack of trying. For instance, the hashtag for a wedding between Mythili and Ram is #myram. There is a huge physical block of it erected for everyone to see, yet the actors read it out — multiple times — as myran (a word of abuse loosely translated to a man worth only a pubic hair). If that’s not enough, there are shots of people with just a part of the hashtag, Myr (pubic hair), in the background. At one point, I wondered if they won’t stop making that joke if I didn’t laugh at it.
Other low hanging fruits include one IPL fan-face-off between a Chennai fan and a Mumbai fan. It’s not as if this scene scrapes the bottom of the barrel, it scrapes the ground under the barrel until a Bangalore fan appears from there! Then there is a wife, who keeps beating her husband up. She tears his clothes and bruises his face, apparently to evoke laughter — a henpecked man must be funny, right?
After a couple of episodes, Triples gets flat and unengaging. The emotional conflict between Ram and Meera never gets the chance to escalate; so much so that we’re told in passing that they’re divorced. The villains, a politician, a cop and a money-lending rowdy seem to be little threat.
The biggest shame with Triples is that it had potential. Looking back, Triples is about modern couples: One struggling to make a baby, one suffering while raising theirs and one trying to run away from the clutches of patriarchy without money. A sharper commentary on the world and a cleverer dialogue writer could have made Triples an absolute delight of a show.
The way it is now, though, I’m left with the same feeling as the woman in whose handbag Cheenu stuffed the used diaper of Maadhu’s child.
(All images from the show's trailer)
Triples is now streaming on Disney+ Hotstar. Watch the trailer here —
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