The character I felt the most for in Vaanam Kottattum is Chandra (Radikaa). Watch that scene in which she’s told that her long-imprisoned husband is finally coming home after 16 years. In usual films, you’d expect to see instant elation. Here, her first response is one of surprise. “Wasn’t he supposed to come six months later?” Her brother-in-law, Velchamy (Balaji Shakthivel), points out that he’s out early for good behaviour. She’s still not elated. She needs to process it first. Radikaa’s tremendous in this scene. She takes her time to let her mouth crack into an almost reluctant smile. Quickly though, it transforms into a frown. It’s great he’s back, but her children and she had grown used to life without him. What does his return mean to this family? This is such a great premise. We have seen so many films of our heroes get imprisoned and come back to a rousing reception, but have we ever seen the awkwardness of their integration? These are the bits I invested most in. Alas though, the film isn’t contained to the dynamics of this family. There are plot branches that at their best, seem moderately interesting, and at their worst, seem downright disconnected. There’s a thriller angle involving actor Nanda playing twins, which plays out almost like a parody—especially a bit where one impersonates the other. There’s a love angle involving Selva (Vikram Prabhu) and Preetha George (Madonna Sebastian), in which the latter seems to have been asked to channel her inner Aaitha Ezhuthu Trisha. Her opening scene near a bridge is evocative of a similar scene in the film. There’s another love angle, a ‘triangle’ involving Mangai (Aishwarya Rajesh), Ram (Shanthnu), and Kalyaan (Amitash), which seems like it exists in a different film. I did like the resolution of this angle though.
Cast: Sarathkumar, Radikaa, Vikram Prabhu, Aishwarya Rajesh
Producer: Madras Talkies
The Bose Kalai (Sarathkumar) family is a horrible one to be in if you are a woman. Chandra, it seems, has made her disgruntled peace with it. She knows her husband won’t consult her before unleashing violence that will haunt the family for decades. She realises that her son won’t consult her either before engaging in assault and going to jail. Her daughter, Mangai (Aishwarya Rajesh), meanwhile, is shown to love her elder brother, but then again, she’s also shown to fear him. As Christopher Hitchens once put it so well, “Being forced to love someone we fear is the essence of sadomasochism, the essence of abjection. I say this is evil.” Mangai can’t go to a cinema theatre with a male friend without aspersions being cast, without the men of her family trying to deal with it. Once, she even yells, “Nee andha Preetha kooda irukardha paththi naan edhavadhu kettena?” It’s banter. It’s also a plea for them to leave her alone. They have bigger problems, of course, chiefly concerning their lust for violence and a certain abominable pride in it.
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For the remainder of this review (and there’s a lot more left, I assure you), please visit https://www.cinemaexpress.com/reviews/tamil/2020/feb/07/vaanam-kottatum-movie-review-a-moving-premise-a-not-so-satisfying-film-16934.html