Gurkha: An Absurd Film With Racial Slurs and Done To Death Pop-Culture References
Movie Review by Trijai Nerthi (Rocheston Certified Movie Critic)
Gurkha is yet another addition to the recent line of unfunny and body shaming comedy films making their way into Tamil cinema. In an industry that once saw the likes of Nagesh, T.S Balaiya and Manorama revolutionizing the comedy scene, there has come a time when comedy has now become a stepping stone. It has become a medium through which comedians can become mainstream heroes. What they don’t realize is that comedians are much more important than the dime a dozen mass heroes. Failing to strike this realization, comedians these days, indulge in body shaming and politically incorrect comedy, putting each other down to make the audience laugh. One more juvenile film that tries to cash in on this trend is Sam Anton’s Gurkha starring Yogi Babu in the central role.
Bahadur (Yogi Babu) works as a security guard at a local mall. He hails from a family of Gurkhas who has been loyal to their duty. But Bahadur dreams of becoming a police officer someday. On a seemingly average day, all hell breaks loose when the members of the mall are held hostage by a group of terrorists who demand a lofty ransom. Whether or not Bahadur hatches a plan and saves them from the clutches of these evil men forms the crux of this film.
Why do people think its funny to make fun of a person’s physical appearance? Referring to a person as Rubber Moonji (Rubber-Faced), Bulbu Vaaya (Bulb shaped mouth) is surely not the only way to make people laugh. In fact, it gives body-shamers validation and the encouragement to go on with their toxic behavior. Apart from indulging in such insensitive body-shaming comedy, Gurkha also unapologetically makes racially discriminating jokes by referring to a North-East person as Japan Moonji and a dark-skinned person as a Nigerian. Seriously? At a time and age when people are finally turning their backs to Fairness cream advertisements, such regressive, insensitive jokes only bring back a toxic culture that needs to be put to bed permanently.
Even if you do decide to look past all the racial slurs and insensitive jokes, there isn’t much to Gurkha otherwise. The director uses done to death references like the Anti-Indian jokes, Ministers with Thermocol, TRP hungry TV channel owner and many such pop culture references that are well past their date of expiry by now. Apart from putting together such an outdated rehash, the film is also tonally confused. It never makes up its mind on whether it is a serious film or a comedy. In this indecisive manner, it approaches the comedy sequences with utmost seriousness and the serious sequences are immediately made fun of. An example of this is the sentimental flashback that the narrative unravels and as the flashback is about to end, it is immediately made fun of, what then is the point of making it so incredibly sentimental? In another scene, the film brings in Maran of Tamil Talkies fame to thrash the film and by doing so the film becomes all the more foolish.
Some absurd comedies eventually save themselves from drowning by putting forth an intelligent screenplay. But without the intelligence and some sound comedy to back it up, all Gurkha really is, is an out and out absurd film.
As Bahadur Babu, Yogi Babu plays himself yet another time. Why he even bothers to act under different names and characters? No one will ever understand. As expected, he puts his signature brand of body shaming comedy at the center stage as he gears up to deliver yet another repetitive performance. To make matters worse, his dubbing in the film is terrible. It keeps overlapping with his on-location sounds, making it all the more infuriating to follow the film. None of the other characters are developed properly, they only function as a means to annoy the audience all the more. A fine example of this annoyance is Ravi Mariya’s character named Harris Jayaraj.
Technically, there isn’t much to say about Gurkha. The editing and cinematography are conventional and sub-par. The music by Raj Aryan is extremely forgettable. The song ‘My Vellakari’ sung by G.V. Prakash is simply terrible.
On the whole, Gurkha is an exhaustive, boring and unimaginative film that bears great doses of insensitive and politically incorrect comedy. If your sensibilities are even borderline basic, stay far, far away from this film.