Disclaimer: A rant from a disappointed cinephile
In Tamil, Kalakalapu mean happiness or cheerfulness. But there is absolutely nothing in Kalakalapu 2 to cheer about. Nor is happiness the feeling that the film leaves you with as you walk out of the theater. Rather, Kalakalapu 2 is a collection of boring, old and unfunny jokes that we are somehow expected to accept as a comic caper.
Essentially, all elements of Kalakalapu are present in this sequel as well. A legacy institution that is in ruin, two men with financial problems, a dog that steals things, a moneylender who is conveniently used as a pawn, a heroine who is a public official and a family that doesn’t accept the relationship. But what made the first installment work is that there was some effort to get us invested in a story — a renowned cafe in need of a dire makeover. However, here we begin with a supposedly angry Raghu (Jai) who is about to kill his father. His anger and the story he says about his father seem as fake as the knife he carried in his hand. The humour is detrimentally tacky and outdated.
At the risk of sounding like a tape recorder, I have to talk about the women in Kalakalapu 2. The prequel did have its share of problems but at least it was in moderation. The follow-up is unabashedly opportunistic about its women characters. Catherine Tresa, who looks like she has just stepped out of a parlour, manages a tourist boat service. She lives in Kasi but wears hot pants and waist-slit tops that flow around when necessary to show chiseled abs. Nikki Galrani, on the other hand, is a Tahsildar who teaches dance as a hobby. If that doesn’t sound ridiculous enough, she also wears sleeveless blouses and low-waist sarees because how else will a Tahsildar dress, right? Both of them are conveniently brought in to dance for the songs including a cringeworthy item number.
Chaos has been Sundar.C’s forte. The director has been very good in handling chaotic scripts in the past where the plot continuously moves back and forth, ending in a high-activity climax. The warehouse climax from Ullathai Allitha is a classic. But, he takes it a bit too far in Kalakalapu 2. The plot keeps moving unpredictably in concentric circles. Kalakalappu 2 runs for a massive 153 minutes, by the end of which all you’re searching for is the exit door.