Movie Review

Teddy movie review: Arya, Sayyeshaa and the teddy bear are let down by Shakti Soundar Rajan

Teddy movie star cast: Arya, Sayyeshaa
Teddy movie director: Shakti Soundar Rajan
Teddy movie ratings: 2 stars

Filmmaker Shakti Soundar Rajan’s latest film Teddy reminded me of director Fazil’s Vismayathumbathu. The 2004 movie, starring Mohanlal and Nayanthara, is about a woman’s spirit that has been separated from her comatose body, and the efforts of a man to unite the two.

Teddy works on similar lines. The film follows Shiva (Arya) as he attempts to reunite Srividya’s (Sayyeshaa) soul with her body, which is being kept in a drug-induced coma. The film begins with Srividya travelling on a bus with her college friends. The bus crashes into a person on a bike and Srividya volunteers to help the injured biker.

She also gets injured in her attempt. As she accompanies the injured person to hospital in an ambulance, the hospital staff offers to give her first aid. The unscrupulous hospital employees drug her, and a scuffle during this drug-induced state ends with her spirit leaving her body. Her wandering spirit takes refuge in a stuffed teddy bear. A few minutes later she, now in the body of a teddy bear, finds herself in an almost empty passenger train, where Shiva is fighting a few bad guys to protect the dignity of a helpless woman. And just like that Srividya finds her saviour in Shiva.

Rajan seems to have a problem in grasping the meaning of “a race against time”. Almost all of his films revolve around a situation that requires undivided attention and efforts of the protagonist to prevent an impending catastrophe. But, the director seems to care two hoots about the urgent situation and refuses to change the pace of his films. His narrative pattern was the same in Mitunan, a movie about a zombie apocalypse, and Tik Tik Tik, where an asteroid hits the earth. The characters in his movies rarely feel the tension of an unfolding crisis, thus denying the audience edge-of-the-seat moments.

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For example, Srividya in Teddy’s body is not traumatized by what has happened to her. She isn’t bothered that criminals who have her body can harvest her organs. She spends time playing PUBg and hanging around Shiva, while he reads Who Moved My Cheese?. There is also a song as they both chill out and bond over ice-creams and take a walk on the beach.

That said, Rajan’s special effects team has done a solid job with the stuffed teddy bear character. The CG work on the talking and walking teddy bear is seamless and very believable. But, it is just not enough to sustain this movie. It should have been a melting pot of all things action: non-stop setpieces, elaborately designed chase sequences, hand-to-hand combat, gunfight, and of course, fight sequences. Instead, we get a water-down love story that squeezes all excitement and tension out of big ideas like international human organ racket, out-of-body experience, eidetic memory and, last but not the least, a walking and talking teddy bear.

Teddy streaming on Disney plus Hotstar. 

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