Yenda Thalaiyila Yenna Vekkala (Eng: Why didn’t you oil your hair?) is a 2018 Tamil language fantasy comedy film film written and directed by Vignesh Karthick and produced by A. R. Reihana. Azhar, Sanchita Shetty and Eden Kuriakose play the film’s lead roles, amongst an ensemble cast. The film began production in mid-2015 and was released on 23 February 2018.
If you’re a fan of the Crazy Mohan and Visu school of humour, which the makers of Yenda Thalaiyila Yenna Vekkala seem to be, watching this film will make your brain ache in disappointment and frustration. Dialogues like “Thakali na Ketu poidum.. Ponnunga na vittu poidum”, and so-called wordplays like “Sure venama? Soru laam venanga” will make you suffer.
The protagonist Praveen (Azhar) dutifully follows all the usual cliches. I dare say he would score an A+ in the ‘Are you a Tamil hero?’ quiz. Starting from roaming jobless with arrears in engineering, and wooing the heroine by stalking her, to turning successful within the span of a song, he leaves no box unchecked. The first half of this film is pretty much focussed on dutifully ticking off this checklist.
Vignesh Karthik and Azhar are familiar faces from the small screen, best known for their witty one-liners and rib-tickling mimicry. It is both surprising and saddening to see that a film directed by the former, with the latter in the lead role, fails to evoke any laughter.
The crux of the story—Yama Dharma Raja choosing a victim because he hasn’t oiled his hair—seems like it could result in the making of another Athisaya Piravi or Lucky Man. And thanks to the weird title, the film did manage to get a lot of good word of mouth.But sadly, even up till the halfway point, the film, touted to be a fantasy comedy, shows no traces of fantasy… or comedy.
The story really kickstarts only post the intermission, and that’s when you finally get the real reason –the unconvincing reason, I might add –behind the film’s title. Though there are some laughs after this revelation, it still doesn’t really say much.
Azhar delivers a fairly impressive performance. And this could’ve been a dream debut for him if only he’d had a better screenplay to work with. The only saving grace, Yogi Babu, is introduced only late towards the end of the second half. The man steals the show and one wishes he’d had a full-length role instead.
Though AR Reihana, the producer, and composer of the film, impresses with the Vechi Seiraan song, the over-dramatic background music only reminds you of teleserial jingles.
Several times during the film, I felt drained and looked around to find some motivation. All I saw though in the dark was faces illuminated by the light from mobile phones. In that sense, you could say that the major plus point of Yenda Thalaiyila Yenna Vekkala is its runtime that is less than 120 minutes. I greatly fear that my own sense of humour may have been irredeemably damaged had the film extended any longer.
As I left the theatre, one poor soul from the crowd yelled, “Yen da padathula kadhaya veikala?!” That was perhaps the best joke I had heard all evening.
Directed by Vignesh Karthick
Produced by A. R. Reihana, Subha Thambi Pillai & Indran Asirwatham
Starring Azhar, Sanchita Shetty, Eden Kuriakose
Music by A. R. Reihana
Cinematography Vamshidharan Mukundhan
Edited by C. S. Prem
Production Yogi and Partners
Release date 23 February 2018