Kaathuvaakula Rendu Kaadhal

Kaathuvaakula Rendu Kaadhal

Idli and dosai. Rajini and Kamal. Tea and coffee. When one can love both these things at once, why can’t I extend the same to two women, asks Rambo, the protagonist of this film, in the only memorably staged scene of the film. Wild logic that rightfully gets called out for being immature by both his flames, Kanmani and Khatija. But the idea of maturity is so inconsistent in this comedy, it stops making sense beyond its central conceit.

A mother “takes” a woman’s promise to get the latter married to her son. Where’s that maturity now? A man repeatedly uses a ploy of “confounding” the women by talking riddles to hold onto their waning emotional investment in him. Where’s your maturity now? Such convenient contrivances in the characters’ reactions makes it hard to care about their actions.

Two women are in love with the same man. This isn’t as much of an other worldly idea as Vignesh Shivan makes it out to be. He builds an entire myth around an unluckiest boy in the land, along with a curse that runs in his family. This is good creativity on display. But the problem is that he goes to great lengths to make a narrative about this myth, instead of the supposed “experiment” that this film has been marketed with. The writer-director never dares to go beyond this interesting idea which he seems to think is too naughty for our audience. It’s also dumbed down to an embarassing level, with the device of a TV talk show being used as the stage for Rambo to “choose” between two ladies.

The getting together of these three people is basic (love solidifies through fist fights). Thus, the “romance” of this rom-com is weak. Some of their conflicts are based on cooked up stories (the ideas of marriage and sex are pit against each other based on lies), so the “comedy” of this rom-com doesn’t work either. Finally, the man’s resolution is a little too existential in tone compared to the immaturity of the rest of the events. Rambo’s arc of unbelieving his curse travels a distance, but Khatija and Kanmani’s arc of growing fondness is too easy. Major moments of the film fall flat because of such irregularity.

Vijay Sethupathi’s charm can only do so much to a character who’s primary assignment is to basically act confused and uncomfortable while sandwiched between the attention of two women. Rambo doesn’t go through as much of a challenge in this triangle as Khatija and Kanmani do. He occassionally rants, mostly to play to the gallery. In fact, it’s them who have to go out of their way to “fix” him, while also sorting out their own equation. Here, Rambo appears too flat a character, someone who’s reduced to that idea of an unlucky curse – a mental gymnastics of sorts to sell this idea to an audience, who the filmmaker presumes to be conservative beyond a level that they actually might be.

I found it hard to look at this film for what it is, with my mind constantly wandering to what it could’ve been. Especially for having been able to place these three stars in the same frame. I’m not asking for the film to be a take on polyamory – which would be stupid, considering Poda Podi and Love Panna Uttarnum – but it could’ve atleast elaborated on its own light-hearted existentialism, even within its male fantasy space.

We have a beautiful title, one that even gets a charmingly delivered rationale for it in the final scene, but this breeziness isn’t felt in the rest of the narrative. Those final moments sound like the most honest bit of the film, and I wish Vignesh had stuck to this tone of simpleton poetry throughout. Even Anirudh captures this lightness very well with his score. The film also shines when it tries to parody Tamil cinema, an element that again, doesn’t last long and isn’t used to its full potential. What should have felt like a pleasant late-afternoon breeze turns out to be an annoyingly humid time at the theatres.


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