Joshua: Imai Pol Kaakha Movie Review: Gautham Menon loses the plot hook, line and sinker in this chaotic mess

Joshua: Imai Pol Kaakha Movie Review: Gautham Menon loses the plot hook, line and sinker in this chaotic mess

Anbuselwan. Ragavan. Satyadev. Karthik. Surya, son of Krishnan. Gautham Vasudev Menon’s tale of male heroes and the equation they share with the kids of the 80s and 90s is now a decade old. Yet the ‘GVM hero’ – however worn out the image of a man in a shirt and a bracelet has become – still finds a special place among audiences, as recent re-releases of several Gautham Menon films have proven. GVM’s character is sensitive and experienced, sometimes ill-tempered but with moral fiber, and a gentle Romeo who could make Shakespeare blush. He’s generally an upper-middle-class guy who refuses to be a pushover (except when Jesse takes him for a ride), brings a certain charm to riding aspirational value bikes and SUVs, and rises above his flaws. Even with a movie like Vendhu Thanindhathu KaaduGautham Menon essayed a lead character in Silambarasan’s Muthu that didn’t quite belong to his usual mold but still stood tall in the director’s filmography.

And then came Joshua…

He’s an emotionless mess, a desi John McClane who’s a bit of a jerk, and a man you wouldn’t want to meet even in your dreams. And so to see a director like Gautham editing is criminally astounding BodyguardThe story in the style of this malnourished John Wick candidate is upsetting to say the least. Making matters worse is the actor playing the titular role, Varun, who seems to have been told that acting is all about eyebrow movements and nothing to do with a convincing performance.

Everything for Joshua makes it look like an amateur experience; almost a parody of Gautham’s earlier films… and that’s putting it mildly. Joshua, a ruthless contract killer as plain as a plastic action figure, falls in love with Kundhavi Chidambaram (Raahey), a lawyer on his way to becoming an assistant district attorney in New York. After realizing who he is and seeing him stab a dozen men outside the airport (law enforcement in this world is a joke), Kundhavi leaves him.

However, Joshua’s time with Kundhavi changes something in him and he decides to reform and become a bodyguard for a close protection unit. But when Kundhavi finds herself in the crosshairs of a powerful Mexican drug lord, Madhavi (Divyadarshini/DD, as Joshua’s Nick Fury) asks Joshua if her team should take the Rs 6 crore bounty on Kundhavi’s head. This is how the conversation between Joshua and Madhavi goes:

Madhavi: “Should we kill her? That’s good money..”

Joshua: “No… oh wait, she needs protection now, doesn’t she?

Madhavi: “Yes.”

Joshua: “Let’s protect her.”

Madhavi: “I thought you would say that. Good.”

These are trained, merciless killers, of course, but an AI robot could have spoken more humanely about “a woman he loves” and ChatGPT could have written dialogue with more life and drama.

Joshua: Imai Pol Kaakha (Tamil)

Director: Gautham Vasudev Menon

Cast: Varun, Raahei, Dhivyadarshini, Krishna

Execution time: 130 minutes

Plot: A contract killer turned bodyguard must protect the woman he loves from the men who seek a bounty on her head

This is Gautham’s biggest disappointment in the film; there seems to be no motivation to use strong, new emotional beats to support the progression of events, something his films are known for. After becoming Kundhavi’s bodyguard and saving her at the risk of his own life, Joshua wins her heart. But why does this independent, educated woman succumb to this walking red flag of a man who has lied to her about his identity, has no morals, and fails to come up with a solid plan to protect her?

It is also quite infuriating to see how these so-called highly skilled contract killers (perhaps Dhruva Natchatiram, with whom the film shares this universe, could shed some light on this organization) carry out their mission. Their plan to protect Kundhavi from a sprawling drug mafia is to move her from one hideout to another — just within Chennai — until the bad guys attack!

There are countless films both in Hollywood and in the Indian context where the drama and dialogues that tie the action blocks together fail, but at least you get a few memorable shootouts or car chases. But in Joshua, even these scenes are written and constructed terribly and the movie bores you as a show of action scenes as well. Series written solely for the adrenaline rush, with little plot value, lacking compelling emotional buildup or cathartic payoffs.

Why Varun for this role? Why choose to tell this story beyond 2019? Achcham Yenbadu Madamayada and Enai Noki Paayum Tota? Why bring in Krishna (who plays Kotty, a local gangster) just to serve up a lazy plot twist? There are a few other spoiler questions Joshua disappoints you and in the end you only wish you had hired a contract killer to thwart such ideas in Gautham Menon’s mind. Unfortunately, ideas are armored. The bad ones too.

Joshua: Imai Pol Kaakha is currently in theaters

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