‘Thalaikoothal’ Movie Rating: 2.5/5
Thalaikoothal Movie Review: Filmmakers here often tend to give an arthouse kind of treatment to their narratives whenever they decide to tell powerful stories. While that isn’t a mistake, it’s also wise to incorporate some effective and inciting conflicts then and there to make it more engrossing.
Director Jayaprakash’s Thalaikoothal is undoubtedly a deeply-affecting film that sheds light on a heartless tradition, a form of involuntary euthanasia ritual that is still being practiced in southern parts of Tamil Nadu. Though the climax leaves the viewers in tears and raises a lot of questions on how we are treating the elders who are bedridden, the screenplay is tad slow and becomes predictable as the film progresses.
In the very first scene, we are introduced to Pazhani (Samuthirakani) and his elderly father (Muthu), who is unconscious and bedridden. Though the former has a family of his own, we see Pazhani spending most of his time feeding his father and cleaning his excrement. As the film progresses, we are taken back-in-time, where we get to see the romantic life of Muthu and some of the episodes that linger in his memories for years. Who Muthu is and how his son Pazhani is forced to follow this age-old tradition of Thalaikoothal form the crux.
The non-linear screenplay and inventive CG works then and there are one of the biggest strengths of this film.
However, the conflicts that the protagonist faces, given that most of the people in Tamil Nadu by now know what Thalaikoothal is, seem less interesting. Though the problems that arises between Pazhani and his wife Kalai (Vasundhara) is universal, we have been witnessing it for more than five decades in Indian cinema. The writer could have incorporated much more complications between the two that help to elevate the emotions of viewers.
Kathir, who plays the role of Muthu in the flashback sequences, has done really well. The romantic sequences featuring him and Katha Nandi are shot aesthetically, which makes them a delight to watch. But again, it doesn’t help the progress of the film in any way. Aadukalam Murugadoss’ track is bit engaging and meaningful.
The best part, though, is the cinematography and the sound design. Unlike present-day films, most of the frames are static for a long time, creating an impact among the viewers. Most of the scenes are not accompanied by a background score, which works both for and against the film. While sometimes it gives us an immersive experience, most of the time we feel empty.
Saving the best for last, both Samuthirakani and Vasundhara have delivered an impactful performance. His act in the last few sequences is something to watch out for. Overall, Thalaikoothal is definitely a socially-relevant film and explores the practice of senicide in the most convincing way. However, the impact that it creates gets compromised due to the melodramatic narration.