I’m going to board a hyperbole with my admiration for Kuttram Kadithal, so please forgive if it doesn’t live up to the buildup. Yes, each film works differently for everyone one of us, I get that. No matter how Kuttram Kadithal registers for you, this is a must watch. Anyone who’s wasted two hours on a predictable masala fare, this one ought to be a breeze even if it’s a fail. This was one of the most persuasive and stimulating movie from whatever I’ve watched this past year.
The way most movies work at an emotional level is when you relate to a character that is wearing your shoes or you’re thrown to circumstances that finds a chord inside you. I had nothing in the movie that I call mine, yet it had me bound. Merlin Manikandan, Chezhiyan/his Mother or Udayan could be familiar strangers, but when the worlds they occupy descend into a dark void, their fears and anxieties line up perfectly with our primeval ones.
Merlin’s journey from the ecstasy of a newly-wed to carrying the horrific consequence and guilt of her action, is a well-considered study of a tortured soul, mostly found in the patience and lenghty volumes of writing. They are almost never attempted on the screen ’cause the audience’s attentions is supposedly ever-shrinking.
As they say, if a crisis can bring the best (or worst) in humans, Kuttram Kadithal is a case for a story that hits many sweet notes. Kuttram Kadhidhal cares to go behind a recurring headline we often (superficially) dismiss as corporal punishment gone wrong or lose in the 24×7 new cycle’s one-sided coverage. Even if you aren’t drawn in by the drama of Kuttram Kadithal, the characters, characterizations and the milieu they are captured in, are riveting and deeply affecting. Bramma (a first-time director) has a knack with his actors and crafting the scenes with refreshing insight and first-hand acquaintance.
Bramma is also brilliant in how he uses the songs to bring his major characters (a handful of them) into a harmony. If ‘Kaalai Nila…’ brings them all out into the innocence of an uneventful morning, the soulfully rendered ‘Chinnanchiru Kiliye…’ finds closure by unburdening the woes they’ve been carrying in the fateful aftermath.
The one sour note is the ridiculing and picking on one community for the sake of making a trivial point. It comes across as outdated and vindictive, especially when it makes no contribution to the movie’s narrative.