Chennai 2 Singapore

Director: Abbas Akbar
Cast: Gokul Anand, Rajesh Balachandiran, Anju Kurian, Shiv Keshav, Emcee Jesz

A film that gets a much-delayed release is rarely enjoyable, and interestingly enough, all the three major Tamil releases this week were ready to see the light of day ages ago. But Chennai 2 Singapore isn’t a regular film. The fact that the very first word you hear in the film is irappu (death) is just one of the many examples that reaffirm this.

Though promoted as a rom-com, Chennai 2 Singapore scores more on the ‘com’ part of the genre. The film is about a struggling filmmaker whose luck has seen better days. Just like the promotions, where a single track was released in each country during a road trip from India to Singapore, the way the director has worked in humour and emotion in the film is unique… and mostly works. For starters, despite the film having the scope for it, the director hasn’t gone overboard with the emotional scenes. And he’s treated the romance sequences with the same restraint.

What works in the favour of C2S is its almost-perfect casting. Newbie Gokul Anand, though looking similar to Dev Patel, fortunately, doesn’t share the stone-faced reactions of the Hollywood star. His performance as Harish, a director who’s waiting for a break, is subtle and shows visible improvement by the scene. But the star of the film is Rajesh Balachandran, who plays Vaanambaadi, an eccentric cinematographer who sees life in a different light.

Be it his serious lines such as “namba evalo kashtapattalum, nammala vida athigama yaaravathu kashtapattu thaan irupaanga,” or his wacky one-liners such as “passport kaanama porathu land agapora flightku airport kaanamapona mathiri,” his dialogue delivery accentuates the humour in the scenes. His character is given such a cool treatment that he even breaks the fourth wall in one scene. Despite being loud at certain places, his performance works.

Ironically, though being the only experienced actor in the cast, Anju Kurian fails to showcase her talents as she has a hard-time emoting as the critically ill Roshni.

Director Abbas Akbar infuses a few brilliant touches which elevate the storytelling. For instance, whenever Harish makes a choice that would affect his career, a couple of characters wearing black onesies with the tag ‘future’ run away from him. The screenplay could’ve been crisper, especially in the second half, as it’s apparent that the wafer-thin storyline is stretched like a rubber band.

Gibran, who has also produced this film, has done a better job with the background score than with the songs. The best song in the album, Vaadi vaadi is picturised well, giving it a video music album feel.

The film does lose steam towards the end, but the wacky moments throughout the film make up for this. If the screenplay had been a bit tighter, C2S would’ve been an even better film. But still, the film provides many moments that will appeal, especially to the urban centres.

My rating: 3/5


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