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‘Laila O Laila’ – A Pathetic Parade of Passé Clichés

Laila O Laila was bad. It was horrible. There was absolutely nothing in the movie to watch. It shows an overweight Mohanlal with an aversion to shaving razors romancing girls half his age while putting substantial effort into things like running and romancing. He seems to be choking on something all the time and looks tired and distracted. Amala Paul is all plastic and later gets even weirder as she tries her best to look sexy and fails miserably. The only saving grace of the movie is Satyaraj and the rest don’t even deserve a mention. From start to end, the movie is just a parade of pathetic, outdated clichés we have been seeing since the beginning of cinema, accompanied by headache-inducingly loud (probably to keep the audience awake) background “music” and some hackneyed plot that we don’t get to know till the very end. The movie is riddled with jarring mistakes and unrealistic scenarios and get on your nerves when it is not boring you out of your wits. What a disaster. Half the theater left after the interval.

The movie abbreviates itself to LOL. Should’ve taken the hint and stayed away.

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/kliˈʃeɪ, klɪ-/ noun
1. a trite, stereotyped expression; a sentence or phrase, usually expressing a popular or common thought or idea, that has lost originality, ingenuity, and impact by long overuse, as sadder but wiser, or strong as an ox.
3. anything that has become trite or commonplace through overuse.

Laila O Laila (LOL) Story & Review Explained in the form of Cliches

Clichéd Hindi-speaking villain with clichéd eye-bulging and associated mannerisms; clichéd one-on-one fights with lots of shattering glass walls and breakaway furniture, where villain gets beaten to a pulp with nigh a scratch on the hero; clichéd love-story where (rich) girl falls in instant love with the hero seeing his “character”, and then the Universe conspiring to bring them together; clichéd fabulously rich leading characters leading unimaginably chilled lives; clichéd Singapore-like unbelievably sanitized Bangalore where everyone lives the clichéd “Bangalore Life”: they stay in uber-posh apartments, drive only luxury cars and eat only at super-fancy restaurants; clichéd secret agent living the clichéd double life of an executive in an exporting company (sounds familiar?); clichéd spy-agency “command center” with wide-screen TVs; beeping and clicking computers and people wearing headphones; clichéd “hacking” where hero “hacks” into databases by “guessing the password” correctly after three tries, clichéd “fullscreen software”; clichéd villain escape; clichéd woman getting up from bed in full makeup; clichéd family lovey-dovey scenes with heeyys, ooohs, yoouus and hahas; clichéd slow-motion acts; clichéd BMW; clichéd ooh-aah-awwwing item girl; clichéd double-entendrés; clichéd shaky-cam-jump-cut car chase with screeching tyres and close-up shots; clichéd “car falling into river off bridge at end of chase using conveniently placed construction material as ramp“; clichéd wife suspecting husband of affair; clichéd auto-driver goons; clichéd one-against-all group fights complete with henchmen spinning around in the air from the hero’s punches; clichéd more Hindi-speaking terrorists; clichéd spy-agency that has overriding protocol powers to do whatever they want, anywhere; clichéd CSI-esque reveal-it-all DNA tests; clichéd “it is OK to break any rule or protocol if it is for love”; clichéd “civilian being recruited into top-secret government spy agency only because she has ‘talent’“; clichéd purportedly gay fashion designer-cum-trainer with stereotypical female mannerisms; clichéd “homey girl transforms into a vamp in two days with a bit of training“; clichéd weird villain henchmen; clichéd tracking device; clichéd bomb with lots of wires; clichéd “cut the red-wire to defuse bomb”; clichéd “but I want to go with you :( “; clichéd airport mockup; clichéd final terrorist plot; clichéd mallu-accented Hindi; clichéd climax; clichéd hero taking on villains alone; clichéd hero getting shot in the arm; clichéd hero killing all villains just in the nick of time and saving the world.

The Mallu’s Cliched Bangalore

I have to say something about the Bangalore as they show it in Malayalam movies, all those clichés which came together in “Laila O Laila”. Malayalam movies from Johnnie Walker to Bangalore Days portray Bangalore as some kind of (again) clichéd urban utopia, just like Singapore with more trees. In this clichéd Universe of Malayalam movie Bangalore, everyone, no matter they are nurses or accountants or “business men” live super-luxurious, chilled out lives, because everyone in Bangalore is so immensely rich! They live in huge, posh apartments or villas with big lawns, drive only high-end cars and do nothing all day other than going to malls and high-end restaurants and bars, shopping, eating, drinking and dating, all while dressed in chic designer wear.

However, the most astonishing fact is that there are no traffic jams in Bangalore city at all, and characters manage to get from one end of the city to the other in a matter of minutes! Also, only shown are the widest handful of roads, and none of the narrow, potholed headaches that are 70% of today’s Bangalore roads. The result: people in Kerala believe that all Malayalees in Bangalore live charmed lives as depicted in these movies, in “modern flats with all amenities”, and that all of Bangalore looks like the Brigade Gateway complex and all of them drive around in BMWs on elevated roads that cover all the city. “Bangalore Life” has become eponymous with “Amsterdam Life” as some kind of liberal utopia. The truth is that only .05% of people here can afford to live such lives while the rest of us slog our asses off day in and out and sit in traffic jams rest of the time so we can pay for our low-quality 50 lakh 1000 sqft apartments and Maruti Altos and Hyundai i10s.

In Laila O Laila, Mohanlal and Amala Paul live in a super-luxury flat in an apartment complex part of the Brigade Gateway “lifestyle enclave” in Rajajinagar (near Yeshwantpur) which also consists of the 32-story Bangalore World Trade Center, Orion Mall, a Multiplex, Sheraton Hotel, Columbia Asia Hospital and a Metro station. Now for some reality facts shown in the movie.
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  • Mohanlal and Amala Paul’a Brigade Gateway flat will cost around, wait for it, 6 crore Rupees (on resale) LOL. Only the very, very rich, creamiest layer of the city can afford to live in a place like that.
  • From Rajajinagar, they go for dinner at the Crowne Plaza (Mohanlal is rumored to have some stake in it), located in Electronic City at straight the other end of the city. It will take them 45 km and around 2 to 4 hours to cover that cross-city distance in Bangalore traffic LOL, even if they take the NICE Road.
  • A flat in Shobha Lavender, Laila’s apartment building, will cost around 1.5 crore LOL.
  • Amala gets into an auto at night and the driver just starts driving without haggling for “double meter” LOL.
  • Mohanlal’s office is shown to be located in Majestic, which is an overcrowded and dirty commercial area which also houses the railway station and bus station in addition to a scrabble of narrow alleyways, theaters, and low-cost shopping complexes and not cobblestoned driveways LOL.
  • That car chase will never happen in Bangalore. They will only be stuck in dead traffic LOL.
  • In the chase, they are shown to go from the Outer Ring Road to Mekhri Circle to the Electronic City flyover to Sadashivnagar to the new airport to the NICE highway in a matter of minutes LOL.
  • “HAL Airport” is a mockup + computer graphics creation. Popularly known as “Old Airport”, this is in the middle of the city, surrounded by buildings on three sides. There are no industrial areas or hills there LOL.
  • A Bangalore girl like Anjali (Amala) does not know how to walk in high heels? LOL.
  • For some reason, everyone in Bangalore wears blazers/jackets/overcoats LOL.
  • All number plates are fake. All cars in Karnataka now have M as their numbering series.
  • A movie happening entirely within Bangalore and not a single word of Kannada is spoken LOL.
  • There are no traffic jams anywhere LOL.
[/su_note] Joshi/Joshy/Joshiy and other such directors trying to live on hanging on to their old glory days should understand that there is no longer a formula that works for making movies. Audiences have access to any world cinema today and will call bullshit on the slightest mistake. Does he expect us to swallow this pathetic premise of an “action movie” with “choreographed” stunt scenes when we have access to creations like John Wick? (BTW, Mohanlal is only four years older than Keanu Reeves). I will never ever go and watch another Joshiy movie.

Also read: 1001 Cliches of Malayalam Cinema (Malayalam)

BTW, here is real “choreographed action”. and it has nothing to do with the hero looking “stylish”.

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