Sangili Bungili Kadhava Thoare uses a set-up that is almost done to death in the horror comedy genre — a family moving into a haunted house. The tricks that it uses to make us laugh or feel scared (sometimes both at the same time) are also familiar.
The plot revolves around Vasu (Jiiva), who is in the real-estate business. His modus operandi largely involves a bit of scamming, which he accomplishes with the help of his friend Sooranam (Soori), but there is a reason behind why he tries to make quick bucks. He wants to have a house of his own, especially because of the trials and tribulations he and his mother (Radikaa) have undergone with apathetic house owners. And Vasu manages to buy a property he has long had an eye on since childhood.
And when he and his extended family, which includes his supportive uncle (Ilavarasu) and his wife and daughter, move in, they are in for a shock. For the family of Jambu (Thambi Ramaiah), who claims to be a descendant of the bungalow’s previous owner, is already living there. They decide to live in the same house until the can settle this dispute. But Vasu and Sooranam try to scare off the other family, not realising that the place is already haunted.
Despite this familiar set-up, Sangili Bungili Kadhava Thorae doesn’t feel like a by-the-numbers horror comedy. The reason for this is that debutant director Ike makes us buy this story and does a few things differently, within the genre’s limitations, after establishing the premise. For one, he gives Vasu a strong motivation on why he wants to live in the house and refuses to move out even after finding out that a spirit lives there. And later, he makes it a battle between the strong-willed Vasu and the determined ghost, subtly integrating the message of family values.
And his actors do the rest. Even though we have seen Jiiva playing a character with similar motivations earlier, in Pori, he still makes us empathise with Vasu. And his team-up with Soori works, and the latter offers us quite a few hilarious moments. Sri Divya, who plays the daughter of Jambu, has very little to do, but fits the small-town girl role. The seniors, from Radha Ravi and Radikaa to Thambi Ramaiah, Kovai Sarala and Ilavarasu, deliver what is expected of them.
It is predictable fare, yes, and there isn’t much inventiveness both in terms of narrative and filmmaking, but there is a quiet confidence in how Ike narrates this tale and keeps us entertained.