Director: Balaji Tharaneetharan
Solid: Kalidas Jayaram, Megha Akash
It’s a intelligent title: Oru Pakka Kathai. It means “a brief story”, a narrative quick sufficient to be informed on a single web page. It additionally means “a one-sided story”. It revolves round Meera (Megha Akash), who’s a typical college-goer. She nonetheless has that girly innocence—she sleeps in a cotton candy-coloured night-suit that has a butterfly sample throughout it. Meera is in love with Saravanan (Kalidas Jayaram). The movie is a few “miracle” that erupts of their lives, and it’s apt that it opens with a spiritual discourse in Meera’s home. (It is a good level to notice that “Meera” is itself a spiritual identify.) This lengthy stretch—anchored by the discourse—is definitely probably the most fantastically sustained piece of direction by Balaji Tharaneetharan. He orchestrates a small symphony of rituals and home chores, gestures and murmured phrases.
The discourse is about an episode from the Mahabharata, and it lays the groundwork for a few of the movie’s key questions. Take Jesus. Is He a product of faith (the Immaculate Conception), or mere science (parthenogenesis)? Does God at all times must be male? Can avatars of God current themselves within the current day? If sure, would the skies pour down, like they did on the day of Krishna’s start?
Balaji often is the gentlest filmmaker in Tamil cinema immediately. The way in which he directs his actors, the way in which he writes, the way in which his digicam glides, as if suspended from a lazily floating balloon – all the pieces is so light. The smallest of plot factors is handled with dignity. When Meera’s mom suspects one thing is mistaken, we see her suspicion mount steadily: by means of a reputation that seems on Meera’s cellular, by means of Meera’s tiredness, by means of Meera’s lack of urge for food. When Saravanan is summoned to Meera’s dwelling, we linger on his face, on his discomfort. He is aware of one thing is off, and we wait with him to study what it’s all about. Nothing is pushed, not even probably the most dramatic developments. The movie’s happiest second is when Meera and Saravanan (and their mother and father) iron out their points and resolve to get on with life as traditional, accepting the miracle as an surprising present. The scene made me actually pleased. It made me smile rather a lot.
A few of us, when confronted with the surprising, are inclined to freak out. Some others are calmer – they attempt to perceive what’s taking place. Oru Pakka Kathai is full of the latter form of folks, which is great at first. I beloved that the drama was being showcased with an utter lack of… drama. However after some time, I started to want that everybody didn’t must react to information with a delicate response shot. At first, these response photographs appear natural, as a result of these characters are genuinely making an attempt to wrap their heads round no matter is occurring. However after some extent, I wished some emotional volatility — and I feel you’d agree that the extraordinary conditions (particularly within the second half) warrant this.
Someday into this second half, Oru Pakka Kathai begins to resemble Satyajit Ray’s Devi—and these are the movie’s weakest parts. The “plot” takes over to such an extent that we discover we now have been nudged from a personality research (revolving round science) to a messagey zone (revolving round superstition). Meera and Saravanan are decreased to blank-faced ciphers, and the hitherto-warm story cools down and stays at a distance. I stored getting the sensation that they established a fantastic premise after which didn’t know what to do with it. A parallel monitor with a boy named Sethu guarantees to change into a robust counter-narrative, nevertheless it peters out. However in the event you like Balaji Tharaneetharan’s work, his sensibility, I feel you’ll discover sufficient right here to maintain you invested. He’s a real authentic. He goals up probably the most weird premises (the miracle on this film is as out-there because the reminiscence loss in Naduvula Konjam Pakkatha Kaanom), however he grounds them in utter actuality. His movies don’t appear synthetic or readymade. You may really feel him looking his approach, and—flaws and all—the journey turns into its personal reward.