At the audio launch of Iruttu Araiyil Murattu Kuththu (IAMK), director Santosh P Jayakumar very proudly announced that his film will be an adult horror comedy. He offered an altruistic explanation of how the genre has hardly been exploited in the Tamil film industry.
And it turns out, it has been that way for good reason. The only exploitation this film sees is of its female characters who are sexually assaulted by the camera every time they appear on screen. Even the ghost in the film is not spared.
Have you heard of a horror movie exclusively made for misogynists? Well, then IAMK starring Gautham Karthik and Vaibhavi Shandilya in the lead is your answer to that question.
It even comes with a statutory warning for men in the beginning - 'Don't forget to get tissues to the theatre.' But women should follow it too, so that we can cry at what cinema has been reduced to.
The storyline, if you could call it that, revolves around a trip taken by Veera (Gautham Karthik) with a woman he seeks to impress (read sleep with) and eventually marry, Thendral (Vaibhavi Shandilya). He also invites his friend Vasu (Shah Ra) who brings along his voluptuous girlfriend Kavya (Yashika Anand). Gautam Karthik dons the playboy hat once again and doesn’t even have count of the number of women he has been with. So, of course, he has dated Kavya in the past. She in return decides that this is the perfect trip to seduce Veera and make him hers again. They travel to Thailand and stay at (surprise surprise) a haunted villa.
But the horror hasn’t even started. And no, we are not talking about the ghost.
For perhaps the first time in a ‘horror’ film, the ghost (Chandrika Ravi) has no back story. All we know is that she died 25 years ago in a freak accident and has come back because she didn’t get to do the one thing she always wanted to – have sex.
And if you were thinking that this is a rather progressive ghost, haha, the joke’s on you. She will only have sex with a ‘virgin’ boy.
Yes, ladies and gentlemen, this is a patriarchal ghost that the heroes spend the next hour trying to escape from.
Now to explain the rest of the film, let us use another gem offered by director Santosh of Har Har Mahadevaki fame (or should I say notoriety?): “In some horror comedies, the hero takes the ghost for a ride. In others, the ghost takes the hero for a ride. But in this one, both the ghost and the hero team up for a reason.”
The reason here being – to take the audience for a ride. One that will leave you nauseous at the end of it.
The so-called comedy this film has to offer is sleaze and more sleaze. The sexual innuendos are over the top, jarring and will make you cringe in disgust. Right from representational bananas to the ‘hole is closed’ scene, which has now become viral, the movie objectifies women, glorifies hegemonic masculinity and attempts to pass of the rape of men as humour. It surprisingly showcases a character whose sexuality is fluid but makes him the butt of jokes and even terms him mentally ill.
What more, he is subjected to the usual 'Avanaa nee?' questions and even told that gay encounters don't count as a loss of virginity. The homophobia in the film perhaps reaches its peak when a straight man says, it is because gay men, that people like him are not safe in public. The film with its regressive stereotyping, propagates and normalises discrimination of women and minorities.
And no this is not ‘adult’ humour. Because if you do find it funny, you are not really an adult.
Cinematographer Ballu seems to have had an easy job shooting the women. The camera always tilts from the legs to the top. I mean, who cares about her face or, god forbid, the emotions it may show. With most of the movie being shot within the ‘haunted villa’ very little creativity has been showcased through camerawork, apart from one shot which shows the characters playing spin the bottle from the top.
That being said, the parts where Chandrika appears as a ghost have been shot with care. Scenes in which she levitates are convincing and have been done tastefully. Her make-up and the visual effects used to enhance it are to be appreciated.
The songs are really nothing to write home about. And in case you are wondering about the acting, well we are still trying to figure out why anyone would agree to act in this film in the first place.
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.