‘Gulu Gulu’ Movie Review: Santhanam Dark Comedy Gets A Few Laughs But Nothing More

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Directed by Rathna Kumar, ‘Gulu Gulu’ with Santhanam is an interesting experiment with limited results

Directed by Rathna Kumar, ‘Gulu Gulu’ with Santhanam is an interesting experiment with limited results

What does Google search?

No, we are not referring to the popular internet search engine, but to Santhanam, which is named Google in this latest dark comedy. He comes from a distant country, but he travels through many countries, to somehow get to Chennai, where he becomes so enamored with the people and the language that the globetrotter decides to “s ‘install’, doing odd jobs and helping people. They say: “Vandhaarai Vazhavaikkum Thamizhagam” (Tamil Nadu feeds those who come to live here). He also does this for Google.

Meanwhile, in another part of town, a funeral is taking place and two brothers are angry that their half-sister is there. They are determined that she will not see her father’s face, even if it is for the last time. Elsewhere, there is a youngster who wants to test his busy father’s love for him. How are all these interconnected, you may ask. They are, in the Gulu Gulu universe led by Rathna Kumar.

Gulu Gulu has plenty of silly situations punctuating the serious events, but the story is as old as the hills. A ragtag group is engaged in a kidnapping and things go awry. A gang involved in something serious gets entangled in this mess. There is also a case of mistaken identity, and this is all related to Mr. Google, who has to fix the problem.

Gulu Gulu

With: Santhanam, Athulya, Namitha, Pradeep Rawat, Mariyam George

Director: Rathna Kumar

Duration: 149 minutes

Scenario: A travel addict decides to help a group of young people looking for their missing friend.

There are a few laughs here and there, particularly when it comes to “Pisnaari kidnappers”, as Mariyam George and company were portrayed in the teaser for this film. This results in some hilarious situations in the first half, but after the initial laughs, the jokes start to dry up. The don and his “useless villain” brother aren’t as menacing as they should be. And the subplots, especially about a girl with a unique phobia and a rowdy duet, have no particular relevance to the main storyline.

At 150 minutes, Gulu Gulu is overtly long and once the jokes dry up you keep looking at your watch. For Santhanam, however, it’s definitely an experience worth picking up, as it doesn’t rely solely on its comedy counters to wow audiences. Also as a character, Google is an interesting choice in his career and something you wouldn’t expect him to take on. But it doesn’t turn out at all to be the crazy movie he expected.

A photo of Santhanam's 'Gulu Gulu'

A photo of ‘Gulu Gulu’ by Santhanam | Photo credit: special arrangement

Composer Santhosh Narayanan has fun with the tunes, and his music here is weird and quirky. Tracks like ‘Maatna Gaali’ or ‘Amma Nah Nah’ fit the bill perfectly, but one wonders if all this musical irreverence will work a few weeks later on the average listener.

Director Rathna Kumar, who made Meyadha Maan and Aadai earlier and also contributed to Lokesh Kanagaraj’s projects, took a new path with Gulu Gulu. While that’s appreciable, the result isn’t exactly the laugh riot it should have been, thanks to the writing throughout. They named their main character Google, but didn’t research a cohesive storyline enough.

Gulu Gulu is currently playing in theaters

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