Let the influence of Gautham Menon on a new generation of filmmakers not be forgotten. Oh My Kadavule won’t let it, as it begins with a note of gratitude to the filmmaker. It’s impossible not to recognise the GVM ideas in this film. From small things like referring to the heroine by her full name (Anu Paulraj)–think of Reena Joseph (Minnale), Nithya Vasudevan (Neethane En Ponvasantham)–to more obvious tropes like church weddings and romantic bike rides to Kerala, it’s a film that in its imitation, flatters the filmmaker. I liked that the lead women, Anu (Ritika Singh) and Meera (Vani Bhojan), have jobs, and are not meek creatures. Meera shows her middle-finger to a chauvinistic man, Anu doesn’t hesitate to show aggression… In some places, the film does even better than GVM. Arjun (Ashok Selvan), who I imagine grew up on GVM films, takes shelter at Meera’s on a rainy day. He says, “I wish the rain would never stop.” Meera’s reply though: “Eh?” I found it a relief that this woman doesn’t immediately swoon. Perhaps my favourite aspect of this film is how normalised alcohol is, especially concerning its women. The three friends, Arjun, Anu and Mani, are constantly shown to be engaging in social drinking. A hallowed place for them is a bar they frequent, one that has a photo of them on its ‘wall of memories’. The film’s climax happens here, with Anu ordering tequila shots. I liked the nonchalance with which these portions were shot.
Cast: Ashok Selvan, Ritika Singh, Vani Bhojan and Sha Ra
Director: Ashwath Marimuthu
I also liked that the problems in this love story are contained among its main characters. There’s no external aggressor like in most of our Tamil love stories. The main conflict itself is interesting. It’s often said that to marry one’s best friend is a boon, but as Arjun realises, it’s not all roses, as Joey and Rachel realise in F.R.I.E.N.D.S. I also got reminded of the sitcom, during that ‘first night’ scene where Arjun keeps laughing. It’s a throwback to Rachel’s response when she kisses Ross first. Friendship is, after all, usually an asexual space, and Arjun does not even recognise Anu as a woman. When he asks her how she is able to give her such profound insights about women, she reminds him, “Naan ponnu da.” Arjun tries to make a similar point about his male identity later, but it doesn’t work as efficiently.
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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/14/oh-my-kadavule-movie-review-a-likeable-premise-a-so-so-romance-17038.html