Oru Pakka Kadhai Tamil Movie Review

Feature Film | Comedy, Romance
In Oru Pakka Kathai, Balaji Tharaneetharan aims for something deeper, more ethereal than a standard love story. It may be a high-concept film with much plot, but it does not live up to its initial promise. Nevertheless, the good-naturedness of the plot and characters make us watch it until the end.
Dec 27, 2020 By Sreejith Mullappilly

Director Balaji Tharaneetharan's 'Oru Pakka Kathai' is about a miraculous event and how it affects the lives of its main characters. The title means a 'one-page tale', and the movie is a bit like a short film. It is a story about Meera, a college girl played by Megha Akash. She loves a college mate named Saravanan (a baby-faced Kalidas Jayaram) and he also feels the same for her. Unlike the usual boy-girl love stories, there is no romantic conflict in this film. It is not even your typical romance film, although there is romance in it. What Tharaneetharan aims for here is something deeper, more ethereal than a standard love story.

A miracle changes the protagonists' lives in ways they never imagined. Oru Pakka Kathai is a high-concept, plot-heavy film. Almost every short film is based on a small thread, whereas Tharaneetharan's work has a big idea and many thoughtful themes centered around it. I cannot tell you what the idea is or what the event is for doing so may spoil your experience.

The movie has many characters who are matured beyond their age. It is unusual to see a film like this where the main characters and those close to them treat matters in such a dignified way. That is to say, movie characters do not usually behave like they do in Tharaneetharan's film. In stories like these, you usually see some of the characters questioning people's intentions and honor, to have a cheesy conflict centered around that. However, that is not the case in Tharaneetharan's film for his main characters are so well-mannered. That means there are no patriarchal values or major fault-finding tendencies in them. The characters who come across as judgemental here are supposed to be non-judgmental people in a society.

The protagonists are good individuals, so there is a part of us that wants to see good things happening to them. Because they are good and sensible, they also make wise and dignified decisions. When they come to know about the miraculous event, they do not explicitly show their emotions. You sense that they are trying to understand the strangeness of the situation. But Balaji Tharaneetharan gives us no drama here. Up to a point in the film, that drama-free storytelling is a good thing as it avoids sensationalizing an already sensational event. I like the fact there is no manipulative background music or something like that in the film. You sense that whatever the characters say or do perhaps mirrors what the director stands for.

Now, all of the above is not to say that Oru Pakka Kathai is a film that works. The film is watchable, but it does not quite build on its promising ideas. Throughout the film, the director uses the approach of showing a sensational situation as a normal one and underplaying emotions. This means when we want some drama or a particular sort of reaction from certain characters, it does not quite happen. So, a lot of the screenplay seems flat for a good part of the film. A subplot about a child with unusual powers does not quite blend in with the film's main plot. That means some scenes unnecessarily add to the length of the film. There is also an underexplored conflict between religion and science here.

The actors are well cast, and they are OK at conveying their characters' bewilderment. There is a sense of rawness to them, but that helps with the characterization. Anyhow, the director should have spent more time in their love story and giving us a better idea about who they are as people. Oddly enough, the best scene in the movie is also the first one, where characters move in and out of rooms and go about their usual household chores amid a religious recital inside a home.

Sreejith Mullappilly