Rajath Ravishankar's Dev begins suspiciously like a Mountain Dew ad. Dev (Karthi) is climbing Mount Everest, he sees an advancing avalanche and walks towards it. Is it because it looks as fake to him as it does to us? Turns out, the answer is not so simple.
The reason is a love saga that resembles a javvu mittai. Only, it's not half as pleasant as eating one. From the trailer, it was apparent that Dev is about an adventure-loving man and his romance with a corporate bigwig. Unfortunately, the film never progresses beyond this one-line description. The whole story is narrated to us - wait for it - as part of a standup comedy show performed by Dev's best friend Vicky. Perhaps the audience for that show had signed up for a Mountain Dew challenge as well, or perhaps this was an attempt to enter the Guinness Book of World Records for the Longest Unfunny Standup Comedy Show Ever. Who knows.
Vicky and Nisha (Dev's other best friend - this man always has more than what's required) decide that it's time for Dev to fall in love and send a friend request to a random woman on Facebook. No marks for guessing that this woman is the beautiful Meghana (Rakul Preet), who is a successful CEO at the mere age of 25. Given that Meghana is walking around in business suits everywhere and has made it big so early, you'd think this romance would be slightly better than the usual fare we're dished out in mainstream Tamil films. No such luck. Dev swerves dangerously in his flashy red car to impress her; he sends balloons in the air when she's at a meeting. He also stalks her though he knows (what a milestone for Tamil cinema) that this is stalking.
Meghana has a predictable back story for why she doesn't like men much. As an aside, I wonder why filmmakers strain so much to give a back story for this. Just scrolling through the random men who send stupid friend requests and messages to women on Facebook ought to be enough. Oh wait, that's what Dev does too! Anyway, what follows is a tiresome back and forth between an overly rich, entitled couple that we cannot begin to care about. Slow claps for finally giving us a heroine who cares about her job and then turning her into some kind of psychopath.
The script reads like the director walked into an Archies gift shop and wrote down all the corny messages on greeting cards there. Not a single conversation that sounds genuine or realistic. To add to this, there's also plenty of lecturing on "true love" and how women on Tinder are just looking for casual sex while Dev is looking for something more dev-ine (no, he doesn't say this - such puns do not figure on Archies cards). Actors like Prakash Raj and Ramya Krishnan are wasted in insignificant roles though the latter looks lovely.
The plot remains a flat-line all through and the director throws in a fight whenever he cannot get a cute child to make faces at Dev to liven up the proceedings. Harris Jayaraj's music is the only factor that keeps you from falling asleep. Since Dev is doing his adventure thing all the time, Velraj gets ample opportunities to impress. From Mount Everest to the starlit sky, he tries to give us pretty shots to make us emotionally invested in the film. But there's only so much you can care about the snow.
It seems such a travesty to thrust a talented and versatile actor like Karthi into a soulless film like this. He tries to make do with what he has, but is let down by the avalanche of cliches from where there's no escaping. He deserved better. And so did we.
At one point in the film, when Meghana is attempting to have a conversation with Dev when they're on a long bike ride, she asks him if they can discuss the "economic recession". Dev, of course, rolls his eyes because he thinks the only subjects couples should talk about are eyes, the depth of eyes, love, the depth of love and so on. But I just want to tell Rajath, that's a film I'd pay money to watch.
Disclaimer: This review was not paid for or commissioned by anyone associated with the film. Neither TNM nor any of its reviewers have any sort of business relationship with the film's producers or any other members of its cast and crew.