Prasanth Murali's driectroial debut 'Paisa Paisa' has a script that tries to blow up a gas balloon to mammoth proportions until it bursts right on one's face. Essentially trying to prove how money rules the world and its inhabitants, it's a hollow film that does not impress.
Balu (Aju Varghese) gets kidnapped by an auto rickshaw driver (Daniel Balaji) at Chennai, where he has arrived to attend a job interview. His girlfriend (Apoorva Bose) back home refuses to send him the ten thousand rupees that his kidnapper asks as ransom.
Left with no other choice, he rings up his best friend Kishore (Indrajith) for help. Kishore is busy waging a battle of his own, since he has been offered another opportunity to start his life afresh with his almost estranged wife Surya (Mamta Mohandas).
And thus begins Kishore's struggle to dish out ten thousand rupees, and very soon, it gets plain annoying, precisely because his running from pillar to post isn't interesting material to make a film. It isn't easy to see a man being declined time and again, and after a while you simply start wishing that things were a bit easier on film as well as in real.
The discoveries that he makes on the way are the least surprising as well. For instance, there is this friend (Kishore Satya) who explains that he has no money left , but whom he runs into at a jewelry shop a bit later, where he's busy shopping for his wife. And in a disastrous cliche of sorts, a paanwala offers him whatever he has, suggesting that poor men are not always poor at heart.
There is this scene where Kishore having braved the greatest huddles that can be placed across one's path dashes into a bank just before 12 PM on a Saturday, only to be told that the banking hours are over. But what's funny is the way everyone in the bank seems to be going home, a few minutes after the clock had struck 12.
Do not ask me if any kidnapper would ask for a mere ten thousand rupees as ransom these days, for the makers have a precise explanation in store for that one, very important query. I think they have got a point too there; in fact one of the few valid ones in the film.
The very last moments of the film are perhaps the only ones that sound a bit convincing. However, by then, it's too late in the day, and the damage has already been done. The film having reached a point of no-return just about snuggles through the climax unhurt. But it doesn't make do for all the mess that it has been playing around till then.
Of the cast, Indrajith and Daniel Balaji come up with convincing performances, despite the script offering them very little scope to perform. Mamta Mohandas is wasted in an inconsequential role (which isn't something that is usually seen of her), while Apoorva Bose makes her presence felt. Sandhya appears in a cameo that is noteworthy.
'Paisa Paisa' has little entertainment value and could truly test your nerves with its triteness. Even with its incredibly short running time of one hundred and seven minutes, it seems to have been running for hours at end.
PS: The best moment in 'Paisa Piasa' was when a dear friend who was sitting next to me quipped: "Hey, how about somehow doling out the ten thousand bucks to be handed over to this guy and getting the hell out of here?"