If you have seen Shakti Soundar Rajan’s previous films Miruthan and Tik Tik Tik (in which an Indian space ship accidentally lands on Moon), you would know how bizarre his ideas are. He is someone who seems to get excited about the genre rather than the content. Teddy, his new movie starring Arya and Sayyesha, is also another such bland and bore experiment. He might have seen the Hollywood movie Ted where the teddy bear talks. And he squeezes in that character into an outdated ghost revenge thriller along with an awful lot of hero-worshipping.
Sri, your typical bubbly Tamil heroine (the slot Hansika used to dominate), ends up in a hospital when she tried to help a man who got injured in an accident. But some foul plays were happening in the hospital, and her spirit leaves her body and goes inside a talking Teddy bear that was there in the hospital. So Sri wants to find her body and the movie is basically about Sri’s hunt to find it with the help of Shiva, a guy she feels can help her in the situation.
A talking Teddy bear seems like an exciting idea, right? (Even though it is lifted). But what’s so sad about Teddy is that it hardly cares about the fact that there is a teddy in every scene. It almost felt like if I go to Chennai (or even Azerbaijan), nobody will find it absurd that a 30+-year-old guy is going around with a giant teddy bear. Teddy bear is just a catchy element, and the rest of the movie is your usual (The Tamil movie usual) big guns doing international organ trade cliche. The writing is so bizarre that scenes like our hero converting eight lakhs into thirty-five lakhs just like that can make you literally say “Kuch Bhi?” (The Arnab Goswami way).
Try not to act and try not to behave seems like the brief given to Arya for this role. The movie’s interval block has Shiva shedding a tear for the missing Teddy, and it felt so unnatural that in real life, rather than showing empathy, I would blow into his eyes to clear the dust particle. The brief for Sayyesha must have been to binge-watch all Hansika Motwani performances (tough prep). Sathish and Karunakaran are playing the roles of the quintessential comedians who never felt essential for the movie. Magizh Thirumeni gets to play the bad guy who doesn’t seem to have any relevance in this story.
Usually, there is a tendency in Tamil movies to introduce the hero with a song and dance number. Here that character introduction comes up with a song, “en iniya thanimaye” which means “my sweet solitude.” And you see Arya’s Shakti doing all the cool heroic stuff like riding a bullet, reading sophisticated books in the library, giving share market advice to a random old man and saving their life, practicing archery and shooting, and hitting the bull’s eye of the bull’s eye, etc. Why is this guy not the finance minister, CBI director, or an Olympian? The basic idea was to transfer the soul of a young girl into a Teddy and make the hero help the girl/teddy find the body to show his selflessness to make the lady fall in love with him. The classic love story strategy. But the writing here is flat and extravagant. From Tamilnadu, the story shifts to an Azerbaijan coffee shop, just like that. These shifts are drastic, and there is no interest for the filmmaker to make it look convincing to the viewer. The song En Iniya Thanimaye has become a personal favorite for me.
There is a sequence in the movie where Teddy is on top of an SUV in Azerbaijan screaming at Shiva to stop the car. I wondered how that irrelevant scene might have got pitched to the actor and producer, and they got convinced. I feel this movie should have been released in theatres so that I could look at a random stranger and tell him, “I feel your pain.” Sitting at home and watching this movie alone felt more like a ruthless attack on my “iniya thanimai.”
Sitting at home and watching this movie alone felt more like a ruthless attack on my "iniya thanimai."
Green: Recommended Film
Orange: Okay, Watchable, Experimental Films
Red: Not Recommended