‘Parris Jeyaraj’ Movie Review: Santhanam hits the spot

While still a quintessential Santhanam movie, ‘Parris Jeyaraj’ has an engaging story. Importantly, it doesn’t have the humor you pull from your hair

It’s hard not to think about Bejoy Nambiar and his underrated film Solo while watching Parris JeyarajSanthanam’s latest film expands on the World of Rudra – the last short film in Nambiar’s anthology. Filmmaker Johnson has written a full-length feature about the possibility of a romantic couple being half-siblings, with Dulquer Salmaan being replaced by Santhanam.

But if Santhanam is in the mix, there is of course no shortage of scripted humor. What’s different this time around is that the lines seem to land more often than in his recent past movies, including the actor-director’s previous outing, A1

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‘Parrys’ Jeyaraj (Santhanam) is a YouTuber known among young people for his gaa songs. Composer Santhosh Narayanan helps Santhanam overcome his weight in this respect, as it is the music of the first that gives credibility to Jeyaraj’s character as a Gaana singer. Different, Parris Jeyaraj would have been a gaa singer on paper, not too different from the ‘female lead roles’ in most of Santhanam’s films that only have that part on paper.

‘Parris Jeyaraj’

  • Director: Johnson
  • Cast: Santhanam, Anaika Soti, Prudhvi Raj, Motta Rajendran
  • Storyline: There is a lot of laughter when half-siblings date each other without their father knowing

Anaika Soti, who plays Divya and clearly struggles with lip syncing with Tamil rules, is no better. However, she doesn’t see her screen time compromised due to the nature of the plot. But she’s the subject of a few moral police lines, courtesy of the hero.

Oddly, those lines go largely unnoticed (luckily for Johnson) because, for the first time, a Santhanam movie isn’t necessarily all about him. Enter Prudhvi Raj as the father character, lawyer Prakashraj. The veteran actor is composed, and the deer caught in the expression of light that is omnipresent on his face, gets a bonus due to the plot of the film.

There’s also ‘Motta’ Rajendran (always referred to as ‘Kadavul’ in the film, a reference to his debut film) and the famous faces from Santhanam’s previous films who play their part well enough to live up to the standards of a Santhanam movie – which this quality to never make you feel like it’s a regular movie theater, but a comprehensive highlight of Lollu Sabha

A still of 'Parris Jeyaraj'

There is a charm about the scripted comedy in the movies of yore that is lacking from the contemporary humor we see in mainstream cinema today. You wonder what a writer like the late Crazy Mohan could have done for someone like Santhanam; of course their timings are different, their meters are different … but these are thoughts that you cannot escape while watching Parris JeyarajIn the hands of a mad Mohan, Parris Jeyaraj could have been a laughter therapy. Nothing like this happens here, although director-writer Johnson manages to provoke an occasional laugh from the audience. He’s many miles from becoming a polished writer, however Parris Jeyaraj is certainly a step higher A1… a step in the right direction.

It is an interesting career path for Santhanam. The actor is completely convinced of the kind of films he plans to make. He seems to feel comfortable repeating the same thing over and over. That makes a critic’s job a little tricky – it’s like being asked to discover six differences between two very similar photos: difficult, but it has to be done anyway.

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