‘Massu Engira Masilamani’ – Regular revenge drama with spooky twist

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Film: “Massu Engira Masilamani”; Cast: Suriya, Nayantara, Pranitha Subhash, Samuthirakani, Parthepan and Premgi Amaren; Director: Venkat Prabhu; Rating: **1/2

In 2007, when Venkat Prabhu made his directorial debut with the smash hit “Chennai 600028”, a movie about friendship and gully cricket, Tamil cinema had witnessed what was considered the beginning of an indie wave. This film not only earned moolah at the box office, but managed to impress all types of audiences and critics alike and went on to prove that stars don’t matter at the box office.

Since then, every time Venkat has made a film that could’ve been much better, which have been all the times, you’d like to rewind a few years and relish the good memories of his first film.

Venkat’s latest outing “Massu…” with Suriya is a decent entertainer. It’s not a bad film, but neither is it great. With a highly talented star like Suriya, it’s a shame to make a film that merely pleases audiences because then it could’ve been made without him in the first place.

The film opens with a heist, and Suriya aka Massu is introduced as a conman. Soon, there’s another heist scene followed by an introductory song. In the middle of the song, we’re introduced to Malini, played by Nayantara, and Massu falls for her instantly. This is followed by a few scenes of stalking and like we don’t know it, the director had the heroine’s best friend tell her that she’s been followed. He follows her in the bus, on the road and at bus stops. It gets predictable from here and there’s not a single worthy scene in the first twenty minutes.

Then, there’s an accident and the story kicks in. The premise is borrowed from Peter Jackson’s “The Frighteners”, but Venkat does that with most of his films. He borrows an idea from the west and adapts it well to suit local sensibilities and appeal to our audiences. He did that with his films “Saroja” and “Biriyani”. But his ideas never get made into great films. They only go on to become great attempts. For instance, the idea behind “Biriyani” was borrowed from “Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle”, and the former could’ve been an unadulterated Indian version of the latter, but what we get is a full course commercial meal that’s too starchy to digest.

The paranormal twist in “Massu…” is what keeps you interested but there are too many twists; some predictable and some good. There’s a wonderful twist featuring Premgi Amaren and this could’ve been stretched and revealed much later. Another twist featuring the second Suriya comes in the second half and though it works to an extent, it’s too late to cheer.

Nayantara and Pranitha have no contribution to make. The former plays a nurse, and if nurses in hospitals were as charmingly beautiful as her, nobody would mind falling sick regularly. If only these heroines understood the meaning of getting into the skin of their characters, we wouldn’t be cracking such jokes!

Suriya recently made a women-centric film with his wife, and here he refers to one of his female co-stars as Kung Fu Panda. Looks like all the talk about respecting women and accepting them as they are is only applicable to his wife.

“Massu…” is essentially a regular revenge drama and it’s quite possible that Prabhu may have started writing it as one and along the way got inspired by “The Frighteners” and decided to include the paranormal angle to give it a twist. Again, it’s a great idea that doesn’t actually get made into a great film.

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