Producer: C V Kumar
Production Co: Thirukumaran Entertainment, Abi & Abi Pictures
Music Director: Sean Roldon
Star Cast:Shiva,Ashok Selvan,Oviya Helen,Shruthi Ramakrishnan
This is a week of comedy entertainers in Tamil cinema with all three films – 144, Inji Iduppazhagi and Uppu Karuvaadu – aimed at offering harmless laughter moments to audiences. CV Kumar has grown as a reputed, reliable brand in the industry right now and his keen eye to spot talents has been clear-cut, most of the time. However, 144 may be his first feeble decision in a long time for the film fails to meet the yardstick set by Thirukumaran Entertainment in delivering quality, content-oriented films.
Debutant Manikandan, who has borrowed a leaf of his script from one of Sujatha’s novels, sets his story in the backdrop of two villages named Erimalaikundu and Poomalaikundu which are located near Madurai. Their problems vary from ownership for fishing in the canal that is situated at the junction of two villages to how to immerse Ganesha idols. Due to the long-continued enmity between two villages, the government finds it mandatory to impose Section 144 whenever a festive occasion arises.
The plot is definitely intriguing with a great scope for comedy. But, the palpable excitement fizzles out as soon as the introductory moments of the film draw to a close.
Shiva plays the role of a fiddling thief who gets caught red-handedly by the police every single time he embarks for a robbery. Ashok Selvan dons a rustic makeover for the first time and enacts the role of a car driver to the village chieftain, who also owns a jewelry shop. When Shiva decides to loot jewels and money from the jewelry shop, a terrible topsy-turvy situation leads to a chaos between the two villages. It is more aggravated when Madhusoodhan, the village chieftain, comes to know that his lovable daughter Shruti Ramakrishnan has eloped with his car driver, played by Ashok. All hell breaks loose.
Like the film’s state half way through, the screenplay is also chaotic and disorganized. Editor Leo John Paul, a trusted collaborator of all CV Kumar productions, should have used his scissors more effectively to deconstruct the happenings that are all over the place in the second half, which is replete with deadpan humor.
Shiva sails through his role successfully with his trademark rejoinders and Ashok Selvan, for most part of the film, appears like a miscast struggling to find his foot. Oviya is confined to sleazy shots and to add more spice to her appearance, she is given the role of a prostitute. Shruti Ramakrishan makes a fine debut opposite Ashok Selvan and scores in her limited screen time.
Overall, 144 is an overtly formulaic commercial outing that neither entertains nor engages.
2 out of 5 (Okay)