Director: Arumuga Kumar
Cast: Vijay Sethupathi, Gautham Karthik, Niharika Konidela, Daniel Pope and Gayathrie
Debutant director Arumuga Kumar’s ‘Oru Nalla Paathu Solren‘ is one of those attempts at black comedy (a genre rarely explored in Tamil cinema) you genuinely want to appreciate, despite its flaws that stick out like sore thumb. The film, which is bizarrely fun and equally annoying, doesn’t take itself seriously – from start to finish – and it’s precisely why it works, in parts, and as viewers we’re entertained in installments.
It takes guts for a first-time director to take a path that’s rarely explored. Tamil cinema’s tryst with dark comedy has not gone beyond ‘Soodhu Kavvum‘ and ‘Moodar Koodam’, two genuinely fun films which were celebrated by audiences. Unfortunately, they didn’t usher in a wave of dark comedies and ‘Oru Nalla Paathu Solren’, in my opinion, is a shot in the dark.
One of the major issues with ‘Oru Nalla Naal Paathu Solren’ is its inconsistent tone and how almost every character is over-the-top, and that makes them unbearable at times on screen. If only some care was taken to not make every character look so outlandish, the comedy might have worked. Nevertheless, there are some stretches that are insanely fun. For instance, the college portion featuring Gautham, Daniel and Vijay Sethupathi is outright hilarious. Another scene where Sethupathi talks about his 14 year wait to find the girl of his dreams is one of the best moments of the film. The plot maybe looked funnier on paper than on screen.
Vijay Sethupathi as Yaman, the leader of a tribe that robs people for a living, makes us root for a character that only he could have played. It’s a given that nobody else could have brought some level of excitement to the role Sethupathi brings. He dons multiple getups and his wigs in particular draw a lot of attention. Some of the lines he delivers with his signature deadpan humour bring down the roof on several occasions.
Gautham Karthik, despite is over-the-top antics, shines in some scenes. The film brings to the fore his comic side and maybe in a better written film with more scope for comedy, he might score well. Niharika makes a confident debut and she shows promise in a role that doesn’t full tap her potential. Daniel Pope as Gautham’s friend gets to shine, too, but his antics get repetitive and fizzle out too soon.