There is a stark difference between the first and second half of the movie Oru Pakka Kathai starring Kalidas Jayaram and Megha Akash. Director Balaji Tharaneetharan is trying to tell a story that has a broader canvas. Yes, the shift from being a fun film to a dark satire is causing some trouble to the movie’s treatment. But you will find yourself being curious about the possible developments in the plot. Oru Pakka Kathai has uneven shifts for sure, but it is definitely worth watching.
Saravanan and Meera are our main protagonists. They are like childhood sweethearts, and their parents have no issues with their relationship. At one point, the family comes to know that Meera is pregnant. Both families consider the couple as irresponsible, and in order to save the honor of both families, they decided to conduct the marriage as soon as possible. The fun begins when we know that nothing physical has happened between the couple, and the movie focuses on this peculiar pregnancy and its repercussions.
What I have described in the above paragraph is only half of this movie. There is an entire satire in the second half that deals with a different social demon. In the initial bits that have us wondering about the cause of this divine pregnancy, the treatment will somewhere remind you of Balaji Tharaneetharan’s classic Naduvola Konjam Pakkatha Kaanom. The recovery operation mood of NKPK is getting recreated on a totally different premise. The tracking long shots and the home interiors are giving it that engaging, fun vibe. But post the child’s birth, we have this paradigm shift in the narrative, and it abruptly becomes a social satire.
If that transition were a bit smooth, nobody would feel any sort of flaw in this movie. Balaji is not trying to do it exaggeratedly. He is not trying to desperately cater to a commercial movie audience like a Mookuthi Amman. We would also feel that something like this could happen in this society. He is making a mockery of religion and also shedding light on scientific temper. And he is not really compromising in the treatment part of it. C Prem Kumar’s visual aesthetics are really nice. The colors we see on screen communicate about the isolation or immersion of characters effectively, especially in the first half. Govind Vasantha’s music is now in that space where I am totally in love with it, but at the same time, it is also becoming his typical style. Please don’t press the skip intro button in Zee5; the opening credits score is so soulful.
Kalidas did this film in 2016 as his debut movie as a hero, and the performance here was actually nice. There is a layer of naivety to the character, and if overdone, it could have stood out like a sore thumb. But the actor managed to keep it at that controlled level. The actor who impressed me the most here was Megha Akash. Her character is going through a significant transformation over the course of the story, and all of it is very subtle. From a carefree college going girl to an intensely caring mother, the performance was minimal and extremely effective.
The story’s unexpected jump from a small canvas to a wider canvas is the only major jitter here. But even in that transition, Balaji Tharaneetharan is presenting a story that feels highly plausible. And with the creative inclusion of that sidetrack featuring a boy who believes that he is God, Oru Pakka Kathai manages to achieve what it intended to say.
The story's unexpected jump from a small canvas to a wider canvas is the only major jitter here. But even in that transition, Balaji Tharaneetharan is presenting a story that feels highly plausible.
Green: Recommended Film
Orange: Okay, Watchable, Experimental Films
Red: Not Recommended