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PEECHANKAI REVIEW: Like the recent Tubelight, Peenchankai is driven by its high-concept premise — what if our hand starts to have a mind of its own! Director Ashok sets his film based on this idea against a background that involves criminals and politicians, and gives us a black comedy that is certainly novel, mostly funny and somewhat overlong.
The film’s protagonist, S Muthu (RS Karthik) is one sly pickpocket. No wonder that his nickname, Smoothu, feels just right. But Smoothi is also a pickpocket with conscience (“Pickpocket adichalum oru nermai venum”). This is also why he chooses to return the handbag that his accomplices have stolen. And he has a pleasant when he discovers that it belongs to Abi (Anjali Rao), who he has a crush on. But when Abi discovers his actual profession, she calls the cops and trying to make a getaway, Smoothu meets with an accident. And that is when his troubles start. For his left hand starts acting on its own! A doctor tells him that his condition is called alien hand syndrome and that a surgery might set things right, somewhat.
And to make money for the surgery, Smoothu accepts an offer from Gaja (Ponmudi), a gangster, who wants him to steal the mobile phone of Nallathambi (Vivek Prasanna), a politician, for Nallathambi’s rival, Uthaman (KSG Venkatesh). But with his peechankai behaving like an altogether different entity, is there any chance that things are going to turn out well?
Peechankai is an expanded version of Ashok’s short film, and there are times when you can see the story being stretched. And after a point, the plot seems to be running in circles with no end in sight. But this is mainly because there is one sub-plot too many. In addition to Smoothu’s romance, we have the enmity between Nallathambi and Uthaman, and also a kidnapping by Gaja’s gang. All these make the film longer than it should be. And some of the humour is just juvenile. The film thinks that people still find rhyming comedy, like substituting underwear for android, and selvi for selfie, funny.
Still, it is to his credit that Ashok manages to tie up the various strands convincingly. And RS Karthik is quite convincing as the hapless Smoothu, and he makes us believe that his left hand has a mind of its own. The characters, too, are eccentric — an overweight underling who keeps powdering himself, an apprentice underling, a gangster boss who fears his wife, a politician who loves watch videos of his sexcapades, and so on. The laughs, too, never dry up. Even when they are corny, they bring a smile on our face.