Kootathil Oruthan: Good intentions Submerged In Cinematic Deviations
Movie Review by Trijai Nerthi (Rocheston Certified Movie Critic)
Director T.J Gnanavel’s Kootathil Oruthan is packed with good intentions. Unfortunately, a film cannot run scotch free on these good intentions alone. Due to the cinematic liberties it undertakes and the screenplay deviations it ventures on, the film succumbs to faring averagely.
Arvind (Ashok Selvan), a quintessential middle-bencher is deemed average, forgettable and ordinary by the people surrounding him.The average typecast leaves with him, a strong, inferiority complex. Kootathil Oruthan is the story of how a seemingly average Arvind has his life changed after having met with a terrifying incident. This incident forces his loved ones to abandon him but it also teaches him how to give back to the community without seeking attention.
The film sets out to tell an inspiring story of a middle-bencher but it loses its way in a half-interesting track of a gangster and further drowns under layers of idealistic romances and proclaimed social responsibility. Kootathil Oruthan suffers the after effects of a classic case of over-stuffing. Choosing to tell the story of a boy next door and merging it with a social cause could’ve been impactful. But generously dousing it in family sentiments, idealised love and corrupt practices leave behind a story that tries too hard to be too many things but ends up fulfilling none.
A while after the film begins, Arvind is found proposing to Janani. If the same proposal scene had been placed before the intermission, it would’ve landed in a better pace. Shortly following this scene, is a drunk Arvind’s heartfelt monologue. This monologue has enough potential to be powerful. But all it really does is reinstate all those moments and observations that were already established. Every such scene is dragged on, making the viewer’s experience tiresome. Even the climax prolongs a warm moment long after it crosses the finish line. This habit of stretching sequences too much, reduces the intended impact considerably.
Later, a few minor mistakes arise in the form of inauthenticity and misdirection. A particular rescue video shot on a mobile phone proved to bear aerial shots. Such inconsistencies takes away from the realism of this film. In some scenes, even good acts tend to take a preachy undertone. These scenes could’ve been watered down to make a better impression. Due to the merging of two significantly vast issues, the director eventually loses sight on how to prioritise the film’s proceedings.
Some scenes in Kootathil Oruthan are concluded in an unimaginative manner. For instance, the usage of a conference call to provoke confession is especially uninventive. If the time spent on introducing one narrative track after another was stripped down to arresting necessities, the film would’ve been fresher.
Director T.J Gnanavel suffers the same problem director Aditya Chopra faced while making Befikre. Both parties project onto us, their preconceived and outdated notion on youngsters. This perspective falls far from reality. This is why Arvind looks more like a person with a mental disorder rather than seeming like a person with an inferiority complex.
Nevertheless, Kootathil Oruthan has its own share of good qualities too. The issues it addresses are appropriate at this time and age. The fact that it subtly mentions that all Arvind really needed was some affection and recognition is also well intended. From the strong and relatable humour the film bears, it seems like comedy is the director’s strong suit.The premise it takes upon is one that resonates with thousands across the nation, for this it deserves its share of the limelight.
Ashok Selvan’s Portrayal is mostly good. In some places though, his performance feels restricted and overdone. Priya Anand clearly feels like a miscast. She never passes for a school/college-goer. Bala Saravannan’s crowd pleasing humour is one of the saving graces of the film. Samuthirakani and John Vijay sail through their roles effortlessly, but their choice of characters seem too repetitive.
Cinematographer P.K Varma’s visual-storytelling has proved to be sufficient but it never tries to uplift the narration in an imaginative manner. Nivas K Prasanna’s music though hummable is misplaced in the film. The tunes also lack a quality of freshness.
Due to the lack of one proper focus, Kootathil Oruthan leaves many ends, loosely tied and half-fulfilled. Nevertheless, just for its pure intentions, the film is worth a watch.