Its tepid end notwithstanding, I’ll rememberOru Pakka Kathai for its unique premise, humour… and sensitivity
My first exposure to the idea of virgin birth was being told about how Kunti got pregnant with Karna (which finds a mention in Oru Pakka Kathai). So eager were most of us, as children learning about magical worlds and the origin stories of heroes—gods, so to speak—that it never occurred to think about Kunti, and how her family and society would respond to her unexpected pregnancy. It turns out that there’s a fantastic modern interpretation in there somewhere, an idea that is the genesis of Balaji Tharaneetharan’s Oru Pakka Kathai. The film is wonderfully unpredictable for the most part, and I enjoyed that Balaji desists from going the usual sentimental route in handling the uncomfortable topic of an unmarried middle-class girl finding that she’s pregnant. The scenes that show Meera (Megha Akash) and family dealing with the former’s pregnancy are delicious for their use of silence. Balaji also shows a great taste for humour, especially in some unlikely places. Like when Saravanan (Kalidas Jayaram) meets Meera’s parents for the first time. Like when a boy, who is convinced he is god, learns that his teacher has cast someone else to play Lord Krishna. The writing beautifully manages to milk humour from awkward, uncomfortable, and sometimes, unpleasant situations. In another film, Meera telling her parents about her pregnancy would result in much outrage and uproar, but Balaji is a sensitive writer and filmmaker who is able to communicate a lot more with quiet glances, angry stares.
Director: Balaji Tharaneetharan
Cast: Kalidas Jayaram, Megha Akash, PV Chandramouli, Jeeva Ravi
Streaming on: Zee 5
I enjoyed that for the longest time, I was not sure what this film’s take on this ‘miracle’ is. Govind Vasantha’s atmospheric score plays its part to keep you guessing. Each time he joins in with devotional beats to that little boy character performing a ‘miracle’, it was impossible not to burst out laughing at the innocence of it all—and perhaps, just perhaps, an inexplicable magicality. It’s a film in which I would have bought any development. A small boy could turn out to be a Vishnu avatar, a woman could turn out to be the mother of a goddess, a little girl (Darshini) could get on a horse and slaughter evil people… None of this comes true in this film, but the almost mystical vibe of Oru Pakka Kathai means that it could so easily even have become a realistic take on the origins story of a deity. There’s an indication right from the get-go that the complexity at play in our world isn’t always in our intellectual grasp.
For the remainder of this review (and there’s a lot more left, I assure you), visit Oru Pakka Kathai Kadhai Movie Review Kalidas Jayaram Megha Akash Zee5 Balaji Tharaneetharan Govind- Cinema express