What if you are given a second chance in love? This is the premise that Oh My Kadavule, released for Valentine’s Day, explores. Starring Ashok Selvan, Ritika Singh, Sha Ra and Vani Bhojan in lead roles, the film marks the directorial debut of Ashwath Marimuthu.
Oh My Kadavule begins like a regular romantic comedy. A few minutes into the film, Anu (Ritika Singh at her best) suggests getting married, to Arjun (Ashok Selvan), her childhood best friend. When the credits roll, we’re shown just how close Arjun, Anu and Mani (Sha Ra) are. While Arjun, after ignoring the proposal at first, agrees to it on a whim, a year later, the two find themselves at a family court, seeking divorce. The rift may briefly reminds us of Raja Rani, but the similarities between the two films do not run deep.
When Arjun blames this turn of events on the gods, it is at this point that the film takes full stock of its title, especially the “Kadavule” part. Lured into a mysterious Love Court, where Arjun meets two mysterious men promising to solve his problem, we almost expect Prakash Raj to appear from underneath the desk, having already seen him play the god in Arai En 305il Kadavul.
Two Kadavuls - Vijay Sethupathi in a hoot-worthy cameo and Ramesh Thilak - appear before Arjun to give him a second chance in love. Arjun is given a ticket to rewind his life, but with three conditions binding him from revealing the secret to anyone. The plot-point does not come across as a surprise entirely. What good is an encounter with the gods if you aren’t bestowed a special yet temporary secret power?
Meera (Vani Bhojan) is introduced as Arjun’s school senior by two years and the film follows a what-if with Meera in focus in the second half.
There are a few pop culture references from the TV series Friends and JK Rowling’s Harry Potter that you can discern at some points in the film. And of course, with the man-god angle, there’s the reference to The Creation of Adam.
When Arjun tries to kiss Anu for the first time, he breaks into a laugh and we’re reminded of the time when Rachel did it to Ross in Friends. The “Ross take thee Rachel” slip is thrown in as a surprise and we are also briefly reminded of the dynamics between Hermione and Ron from Harry Potter during those moments when Arjun finds himself falling for Anu, his best friend.
The film has refreshing elements that make it different from the usual crop of rom-coms we’ve seen so far. For instance, Meera plays an assistant director in the film and when she faces gender discrimination at work, she does not hesitate to walk out from it in style. Mani does not just blindly support Arjun but speaks for Anu as well. The jokes are not crass and more importantly, there’s no woman bashing when the hero’s upset.
But the cherry on the cake goes to the portrayal of Arjun’s character. While he is technically the hero, he is shown to be flawed, at fault and in the wrong without glorification. He is made to see his flaws, as he rewinds his life, and this makes Oh My Kadavule special.
Leon James’s music is perfectly in sync with the film’s story and 'Kadhaippoma' by Sid Sriram is especially enjoyable.
The film seamlessly presents a before and after with the life-changing ticket and the characters become all the more endearing to us because we are seeing two different sides to them. While Anu comes off as a jealous lover in the first half, we see just how loving and effervescent she can be in the second half just by changing perspectives along with Arjun. This reminds us of just how crucial a change of perspective is to life and in love.
Disclaimer: This review was not paid for or commissioned by anyone associated with the film. Neither TNM nor any of its reviewers have any sort of business relationship with the film's producers or any other members of its cast and crew.