Writer and director TJ Gnanavel can’t even seem to decide what genre this film is in.

Kootathil Oruthan Review An average film that has bitten off more than it can chew Image Courtesy: Screenshot/YouTube trailer
Flix Film Review Friday, July 28, 2017 - 19:23

It might be best to start with a few helpful hints for the heroes in Tamil films.

First, it is not okay to stalk a woman and follow her around. (No really, it is punishable by law)

Second, don't propose a relationship to a woman with whom you’ve never exchanged a single word.

Third, don't act like the victim and say she doesn't get your 'love' when she (obviously) rejects your proposal.

Unfortunately, continuing in a depressingly long tradition, Kootathil Oruthan – starring Ashok Selvan (Arvind) and Priya Anand (Janani) – does all of the above and more. 

As marketed, the film showcases the life of an average man, who has from childhood exhibited very little potential for excellence. While he manages to just about scrape through school, he doesn't even try his hand at sports and other extra-curricular activities. This, he claims, is because he developed an inferiority complex very early in life. But, who wouldn't develop this Cinderella pathos with parents like his?

They display blatant partiality toward his smarter siblings, and it doesn't help that the middle-child syndrome is also at play here. As his relationship with his father (played by Maarimuthu), turns sour over the years, he gets the much-touted dialogue, “Everybody is worried when they have a girl child, but I am worried about you.” 

Priya Anand on the other hand, is confident, intelligent and brave. And our hero, instead of getting inspired by her remarkable characteristics decides to jump straight into love. No, he doesn't know her name or even if she thought Dunkirk was overrated (Great conversation starter by the way, you’re welcome). 

He decides to pursue the same course she is doing, which is… wait for it… journalism. 

Yes, please jump on the journalism bandwagon. It is just the place for people who aren’t gutsy, smart or willing to communicate. 

The hero then proceeds to studiously stalk the heroine (how cute!), who notices and tells him to cut it out. She then asks him, understandably, what his name is. 

The heartbroken man, who you don't feel even a tiny bit sorry for, then runs into a gangster (Samuthirakani). Fate draws them into a friendship, and Arvind's 'I am invisible to everyone' rant tugs at the gangster's heart strings. 

The movie then plunges into some unexpected twists and turns, turning from a mere romantic comedy to a thriller, before it finishes off as a docu-drama. Antagonists keep popping up through the film, in the form of cops and other gangsters, before the film falls headlong into a dimensional plot twist that leaves you simply flummoxed.

Worth appreciating throughout the film, however, is comedian Bala Saravanan, who shines with his timing and delivery. He is the perfect foil for Arvind's docile character. Ashok Selvan, has delivered in terms of his performance and is completely immersed in his character. Right from the slight slouch with which he walks, to the unremarkable look he sports, the character looks absolutely and completely average.

Writer and director TJ Gnanavel, however, seems completely confused. He jumps from one genre to another even as he tries to decide if 'average' people are important to society or not. One minute you are hearing about how they are not worth the space, and the next you are told that they saved us during the 2015 floods in Chennai.

Priya Anand, caught in this complete frenzy, has also played her part convincingly. It’s just that for someone who claims to be so smart, she is duped pretty easily. But there is little she can do about scripted stupidity. Nivas Prasanna has kept the music fresh, and “Yenda Ippadi” accurately captures your plight as you sit through two hours of the movie. 

Overall, rather ironically, Kootathil Oruthan is an 'average' piece of cinema, that really bit off more than it could chew. 

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