Muthina Kathirika (English: Ripened Eggplant) is a 2016 Indian Tamil romantic comedy-political satire film directed by Venkat and produced by Kushboo. A remake of the successful Malayalam film Vellimoonga (2014), the film features Sundar C., Poonam Bajwa and Sathish in the lead roles. Following the completion of Sundar’s directorial commitments, the film began production in February 2016.
Muthina Kathirika begins with a narrator (RJ Balaji, evoking the laughs with his signature delivery) introducing the primary characters to us. We see how and why Muthupandi (Sundar C) became a politician and takes after his father and grandfather, who were low-level party workers. We are introduced to the people in his life — his family (loving mother and self-interested siblings), his friend Saravanan (Sathish, with a fake moustache that threatens to fall off at any moment) and most importantly, his political rivals, Bullet Marudhu (VTV Ganesh) and Vanjinathan (Singampuli). This sets the tone for the film, a comedy that is set against the backdrop of local politics and a bit of romance.
Muthupandi’s biggest worry is that he is 40 and hasn’t married yet (not for lack of trying, though). And then he lays eyes on Maya (Poonam Bajwa). She likes him because of his innocence, but there is a catch. She is the daughter of Muthupandi’s one-time crush (Kiran, in a ‘Eppadi irundha naan ippadi aaiyten’ role), and her cop father (Ravi Maria), who still nurses a grudge from the past, will not approve of this match. His rivals try to use this as an opportunity to put Muthupandi down. Meanwhile, elections are announced, and Muthupandi is announced as a candidate!
A remake of the 2014 Malayalam film Vellimoonga, Muthina Kathirika is unapologetic about being a lowest common denominator movie. It is loud, it is crass, and it is somewhat fun, especially in the first half. Director Venkatt keeps things fairly low-key and the small-town setting helps. There is hardly anything at stake, but Venkatt keeps the scenes moving, and though the comedy is hardly memorable or new, we are entertained. The motley bunch of comedians from Sathish to VTV Ganesh, Singampuli and Yogi Babu, keep us amused.
But in the second half, the laughs dry up. The main reason is that the scenes outstay their welcome, and feel stretched — like the entire election episode, and Muthupandi and Saravanan’s trip to Delhi. Given that Maya is treated more as a glamour doll, the film loses a great opportunity to have been a unique romcom about two people who are a generation apart in terms of age. The only ambition here is to be a mildly diverting comedy, and in that Venkatt succeeds partially.
Directed by Venkat Raghavan
Produced by Sundar C. & Kushboo
Written by Venkat Raghavan
Story by Joji Thomas
Based on Vellimoonga By Jibu Jacob
Starring Sundar C., Poonam Bajwa, Sathish
Music by Siddharth Vipin
Cinematography Bhanu Murugan
Edited by N. B. Srikanth
Production Avni Cinemax
Distributed by Sri Thenandal Films
Release date 17 June 2016