'Sillu Karupatti' review: A sweet but not overly sweet film to end this year with

The film manages to keep us engaged, while smoothly veering away from cliches.
'Sillu Karupatti' review: A sweet but not overly sweet film to end this year with
'Sillu Karupatti' review: A sweet but not overly sweet film to end this year with
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Sillu Karupatti is an anthology film, made up of four short stories, all with three recurring elements - man, woman and… what would you call it? Affection? Connection? Love?

The film is clearly a feel-good movie - if that wasn’t already clear from the title (meaning slivers of palm jaggery) - and it mostly takes shape through the conversations between its lead characters. The four different stories are titled The Pink Bag, Kaaka Kadi, Turtles, and Hey Ammu.

It could be compared to the latest Netflix series Modern Love - the idea isn’t entirely new to us as an audience. In fact, we know how most of these stories play out. Sillu Karupatti, however, manages to keep us engaged with its smooth veering away from the cliche.   

The stories are all familiar - a boy (Rahul) from a marginalised background is smitten by a girl (Sara Arjun) from an upper class family. He finds her photo in a dumpyard that he regularly scouts for scraps to be sold, wipes away the dust and pockets it. At home, he hides it behind a mirror and grins at his reflection. Is he in love?

A woman (Niveditha Sathish) notices that she’s been sharing her cab ride with the same man (Manikandan) a few times and decides to find out more about him. He’s crying during their first ride, turns breathless and asks to be dropped midway in the second, and looks defeated in the third. Her curiosity piqued, she begins a conversation. They strike a connection and their cab conversations start becoming intense. Do they fall in love?

At the hospital, two elderly people sit down at the same table to share a meal before they go back in for their postprandial blood tests. The man ('Krav Maga' Sreeram) has already seen the woman (Leela Samson) play with her granddaughter at the park, and so he’s been hoping to talk to her. When they leave the health centre, she invites him for a turtle walk at the beach and he’s only too eager to oblige. They discuss their lives during the walk and a connection is formed. Does age matter for falling in love?

A typical married couple - the wife (Sunainaa) toils through the day while the husband (Samuthirakani) is absent minded and negligent. She has a breakdown eventually and the husband tries to appease her in small ways. She’s yearning for a miracle to save their marriage and it comes mysteriously enough. Do they rediscover the spark?

The stories are simple and the characters are of people we’ve seen before. None of it is hard to imagine and this familiarity can be a dampener. The dialogues too had the scope of becoming so much more. For instance, the conversations between the two in the cab on the topics of love come off as Whatsapp conversations rather than an exchange between two people in real time.

But the film does make it interesting at points - especially the recorded message that the girl listens to in The Pink Bag, the thing about a kiss in Turtles and the wife opening up to an AI device in Hey Ammu. Some of them tip towards the cheesy but thankfully there’s no overdose of it.

The stories are not without their problems. The meet-cutes are also creepy. In Kaaka Kadi the woman cyber stalks the man and knows quite a bit about him even before they introduce themselves to each other in person. In The Pink Bag the boy literally lurks outside the girl's house and there’s a brief scene that might scare anyone (I would’ve definitely called the cops). 

The one with the married couple needs a lot of thinking over, especially with how the husband reacts to his wife’s breakdown. But I believe, as audience we’ll have to observe the places that we find funny in a film. I found it offensive that the audience inside the theatre that I watched this film laughed and clapped when the husband dismissed her complaints and said, “Drink women’s Horlicks and go sleep. You’ll feel better.” This in the middle of a fight.

As for the performances, the young boy’s friend from the first story was a natural with his acting and his comic timing was enjoyably on point. The film also had quite a few funny moments, sneaked in like slivers of palm jaggery. While Pradeep Kumar’s music was evocative, the background score was getting in the way in most places. On the whole, Sillu Karupatti is an enjoyable film to end this year with, on a sweet note for sure.

Disclaimer: This review was not paid for or commissioned by anyone associated with the series/film. TNM Editorial is independent of any business relationship the organisation may have with producers or any other members of its cast or crew.

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