Devi(L) – One must really applaud the person who’s named this movie, which explains the core of the movie in a nutshell, and is also able to get an exemption from the entertainment tax. The movie has been made the same way for most parts, which has AL Vijay at the helm of things, after his sorry outing ‘Idhu Enna Maayam’ , which went without a trace. We also have a man making a comeback with Prabhu Deva (whose Kalavaadiya Pozhudhugal is unable to see the way out for its release for six long years) , who puts on the actor’s hat after a long time. Krishna Kumar (Prabhu Deva), is a Mumbai based IT worker (set in Mumbai to make it easy for everyone, since it is a trilingual), who tries to get hitched to a “modern” girl (as they can speak proper English without any grammar mistakes – what an idea! ) and attempts in wooing numerous girls, with all attempts going in vain. Then comes the moment almost all were waiting to see on silver screen – Prabhu Deva donning his dancer’s role with some captivating moves in the otherwise not-so-necessary ‘Chal Maar’ song.
Prabhu Deva is such a charm. He was always good in pulling off roles that had a tinge of humour and was equally able in compassing emotionally driven roles. He’s back to what he does best in a role that fits his bill perfectly. He underplays his role purposefully, which makes way for a perfectly rounded role. Due credit must be given to Vijay and his team for etching out a proper character arc, keeping Prabhu in mind. One strength of this movie is to splash humour at us, whenever we feel things are getting slowed down. Tamannah plays the titular character Devi, who, though not completely convincing as a village belle, nails her role to perfection when the story shifts back to Mumbai. The ‘Paati’ portions were a riot, with RJ Balaji ruling the roost like only he can do. He makes us laugh even when he’s not delivering his dialogues, just by his funky and witty antics. His one liners are always good, and they don’t let us down here, too. The whole theatre erupted during those scenes and the humour quotient never dropped a bit. The movie changes gears from the scene they arrive at Mumbai. The pace of the movie increases, and though it remains simple and subtle, it makes us wait eagerly for the next scene. Devi is someone who Krishna looks at as his disgrace, someone who he wants no association with, takes on a contrasting form and the fall out of this predicament is what Vijay hands over to the viewers.
As the title suggests, we have a ghost named Ruby. If we have a ghost, it is a norm that we must have a back story, and a gory flashback. While I was waiting to witness those clichéd, run-of-the-mill flashback scenes, what I saw was extremely refreshing. Yes, there is a back story for the ghost. But, it just goes by in a whiff, just as a mere narration, without making us cringe. We are just dealing with Ruby and Devi, and there is no requirement for an unnecessary rewind to the past. There is a reason, a purpose for the ghost to exist and they don’t seem frivolous; they seem appealing. Thankfully, there’s not a single horror stereotype you could point out to and say, ‘hey, I’ve already watched it in some other film’. There’s no creaking of the door, or howls of the dogs at night, and other things which have become regular. Credit to Paul Aaron (an American writer and director, whose name I was surprised to see in the opening credits) and Vijay for writing a script, which has the horror elements, but still maintaining the sensibility, liveliness and the light-hearted nature alive throughout, and not getting into the misogynist domain, which most horror movies do in Tamil Cinema. This is one rare horror comedy from a barrage of movies from the same genre in Tamil Cinema, which is a ‘real’ horror comedy. Light moments are prevalent right through the movie in apt proportions. There is some proper staging, too. The logic always goes for a toss in this type of movies. Yet, the engagement factor is the one that holds the key, which clicks big time for this movie.
Since the film has simultaneously been made in three languages (or that’s what they say), there are a few lip-sync issues and one might feel that there is little nativity. But, these minor flaws are overcome in a refreshingly endearing fashion. Sonu Sood pulls his role off in a decent manner, albeit not in a wholly convincing manner, since his lip-sync ranges from bad to worse. Murali Sharma does a commendable job in his supporting role, and Nasser tickles our funny bones with a very small guest appearance. The visuals look perfectly in-sync with the vision of the director, and Manush Nandhan has to be appreciated for treating the cinematography of this kind of movie in a different way, which he achieves with complete success. Music by Sajid-Wajid and Vishal Mishra lack nativity, despite a couple of numbers being foot-tapping. Gopi Sunder’s background score adds the necessary fervor and flavour to the movie. The CG shots have been delivered very well, and they never look out-of-place or become a hinderance to the viewing experience. Editing is crisp and Antony makes sure that the viewers never feel a reduction in the pace of the movie. The movie’s runtime is just over two hours, which works as a major plus for the movie.
What can I say about the dance choreography! I don’t think I have the ability to comment on the great Prabhu Deva, but it was exemplary to say the least. When every element falls perfectly (almost) in place, you can get a properly shaped end product. That is what one might feel at the end of Devi. It is Vijay’s announcement to the world that he can not only make sensible, subtle movies, but can make pei-sa vasool entertainers too (don’t count the utter squibs Thalaivaa and Thaandavam), in his own, yet effective way. If you want to see an entertaining movie without taking your eyes off the screen and without cringing your teeth, go for Devi. If you want to see Prabhu Deva – the actor back in action, go for Devi. Most importantly, if you want to see a proper horror comedy, go for Devi, as Vijay has given us a refreshingly delightful movie in his own, unpretentious way, which is sure to become a winner.
Devi(L) – An inexplicably solid entertainer!