A comedy of horrors
Somewhere, in between Kanchana 2 and Darling 2, horror comedies in Tamil cinema became less exciting. They became to films what chewing gum is to food. It became a force of habit, and you began chewing on it without paying any real attention to it. And with Tamil cinema churning out horror comedies as regularly as a Thambi Ramaiah cameo, it’s only natural that this monotony has set in.
About a few years back, when the trend first came into vogue, you hadn’t become too used to the idea of ghost stories being funny. You didn’t realise then that watching people scamper around a haunted mansion would be so cathartic. But it is beginning to seem that the subplots have now been exhausted, and the genre itself seems to have been milked dry. Who really cares about Aavi Kumar and Peigal Jakkirathai anymore? The ghosts have become as menacing as a cotton candy. The blow-dried free-flowing hair, the ashen face, the sudden shrieks... Yes, yes, don’t stifle your yawn.
It’s truly quite amazing how long this trend has gone on for. Even given our filmmakers’ predilection to latching on to trends, six-seven years with one dominant genre has got to be a record of some sort. Whether you like it or not, this will be known as the decade of horror comedies. Sorry, Vetrimaaran.
Perhaps it is for this very reason that my most favourite Tamil horror film of the last few years is Pisaasu; it cared more about telling a story than making desperate pleas to the audience for laughs. Even cars are now ghosts (and to be fair, I did like Dora), and you have got to wonder what’s next turning into a ghost.
Today, as with most Fridays the last seven years, we have got a horror comedy releasing: Sangili Bungili Kadhava Thore. Considering it’s written by Atlee, who has shown a penchant for writing great masala moments, maybe there’s hope. And if there is indeed, brace for the trend to continue for another decade...
The writer is the entertainment editor of The New Indian Express