After the box office success of the horror comedy, Dhillukku Dhuddu 2, we see Santhanam back with his next outing, A1, directed by newcomer Johnson. This film's promotional materials suggested that A1 would be a mainstream commercial comedy drama. Has it satisfied its target audience? Here is our take on this Santhanam starrer.
A1 stands for Accused No: 1, but why is he accused? There is a reason for that. The film doesn't have a major story as such and it is the templated romance that blossoms out of nowhere between a local guy and a sophisticated girl. Here, the girl is a Brahmin and then there is a conflict for the marriage between the two. Not one or two, but three conflicts. What are those incidents which act as the hindrance to their marriage forms the rest of the plot.
Santhanam is at his usual comfort zone and he looks casual on screen. He doesn't spare even a single second of silence and there are non-stop counters and dialogues. He tries his best to evoke some laughter and a few of those works. Tara Alisha Berry fails to impress and gets to play a stereotyped character that is so dumb and weakly written. She doesn’t suit the character and looks very alien. It is not known why the director had to attack the Brahmin sentiments at various junctures which doesn’t look good. The caste based differences in the name of comedy isn’t encouraging.
The writing isn’t favourably good and the jokes are vaguely written, which we have seen in dozens of films already. One would definitely want to know when would Santhanam actually stop the same kind of counters and one-liners and also, the same kind of film. It is high time that Santa changes the approach of his comedies as it has started to become redundant.
On the saving side is Redin Kingsley (Kolamaavu Kokila fame Johnny), M.S.Bhaskar, and a few other supporting comedians, who bring some genuine laughter. Especially, Redin’s body language and humour works well. Motta Rajendran’s sidekick also helps with some laughs. Leo John Paul’s editing is a major plus as the film was crisp enough and tightly cut wrapping up in just 108 minutes. The funeral scenes are funny and entertaining, helping with the engagement factor.
Santhosh Narayanan's music seems to be a misfit in a film of this style. Neither the songs nor the background score impresses. Gopi Jagadeeswaran's camera work fulfills the job of a mainstream film cinematographer, and his visuals play a major role in making Santhanam look good on-screen. Director Johnson’s idea to present a fun filled comedy entertainer is seen, but the treatment could have been fresher.
Verdict: A1 - A very usual Santhanam film that might interest you if you are okay with its templated treatment!