Kaatrin Mozhi: A Fairly Entertaining Remake That Does Not Live Up To The Original
Movie Review by Trijai Nerthi (Rocheston Certified Movie Critic)
Directed by Radha Mohan, Kaatrin Mozhi is a remake of the Hindi film, Tumhari Sulu starring Jyothika and Vidharth in lead roles. When viewed as a standalone film, Kaatrin Mozhi is great entertainment. It wins a few brownie points by not thrashing one gender to uplift another. In portions, it feels superficial. But this superficiality can be overlooked by the number of things it gets right. If you’ve seen the original though, this is a different ball-game altogether. You will undeniably draw comparisons and eventually, this Tamil remake will disappoint you. If you enjoyed the subtle narrative style of Tumhari Sulu, you will feel let down by Kaatrin Mozhi. Then again, considering the flak remakes receive in general, this film is slightly more promising.
Kaatrin Mozhi follows Vijayalakshmi (Jyothika), a homemaker whose world revolves around her family. Viji is quite content with her life and she is competitive too. On most days, her life goes by smoothly with her doting husband (Vidharth) and pampered son. But sometimes, she dreams of a career and of being financially independent. One day, a chance encounter leads her to the world of Radio Jockeys. When she receives a chance to be an RJ for a late-night show, she makes the most of it and falls in love with her job. But this new lifestyle of hers raises many eyebrows at her home. Whether or not she succeeds in helping her family understand her passion forms the crux of this film.
If you’ve seen Tumhari Sulu, imagine the same plot with an amplified amount of drama, sentiments, and comedy. The vision born out of such an exaggeration is Kaatrin Mozhi. It is melodrama served with the side of comedy, the kind of dish director Radha Mohan has become an expert at serving. Only, Kaatrin Mozhi is far better than the director’s recent films. This film’s production design is far better in comparison to his Uppu Karuvadu, which had the worst production values in recent history. While it is true that one can’t help but miss the subtlety of the original, there are a few aspects of Kaatrin Mozhi that one can’t help but be moved by.
The first half has traces of superficiality but as you slowly get accustomed to it, you are pulled into Viji’s world. The scenes that revolve around her life act as the emotional core of the film. In one scene, Viji runs to the mirror and checks herself out. She realizes that she has aged. The absence of self-care has led her to put on weight. Her disappointment and the discoveries she makes in this scene hit an emotional note that makes her relatable to the audience. This relatability extends to a scene in which she narrates a Haridwar story too. The ability of Kaatrin Mozhi to beautifully capture the home-maker’s emotions is what makes it a worth-while experience.
When you take the Tamil audience into consideration, Radha Mohan’s amped up drama does its job to make the film commercially viable. From touching upon the problems working women face at home to the borderline harassment they meet with at the workplace, each of these realities is spruced up and served with a generous dose of drama. This drama helps the film reach the masses beautifully.
But some aspects of the film are most definitely flawed. Take for instance the comedy portions, not once do they ever take off. The superficiality too is sometimes equivalent to that of the Indian TV soaps that simply overkill. Also, one of the primary flaws in Kaatrin Mozhi is its unrealistic production design. The film has been made with a big budget, but while dealing with a middle-class family, the set design must reflect their realities. From costumes to Viji’s house, none of the props appear realistic. They don’t feel as lived in as they should’ve been. The promotional aspects too are a tad over the top. In the larger scheme of things, the song Jimmiki Kammal, for example, feels completely unnecessary.
As Viji, Jyothika delivers a performance that comes loaded with conviction. Sure, she oversells it in a few scenes, but come to think of it, this overselling has become her signature from the very beginning; case in point, her portrayal of Chandramukhi. She captures the working woman guilt with utmost graciousness and for this, she deserves a round of applause. The manner in which she finds liberation even though it is dramatized has to be admired. The supporting characters in the film are quite unimpressive. As Viji’s husband Vidharth is good in his solo scenes. But as a couple, their chemistry does not work. One can’t help but sense a lot of reluctance in their scenes together. Because of this, you never immerse yourself in their intimacy and problems. The portions of Lakshmi Manchu and Kumaravel simply don’t work and the film could’ve done without Manobala and Yogi Babu’s comedy.
Technically, Kaatrin Mozhi is sound. The music though not quite as refreshing as the original serves the purpose. Mahesh Muthuswami’s cinematography is vibrant and enjoyable. But it could’ve been a tad more realistic.
On the whole, you will thoroughly enjoy Kaatrin Mozhi, if you haven’t watched Tumhari Sulu. But if you are a fan of the original, this remake might let you down.