Kootathil Oruvan – A confused message movie
Sometimes our makers are so concerned about the message they want to convey that the movie itself becomes secondary to them. This is not the real problem of Kootathil Oruvan. The issue for me was I really did not get what message the movie was trying to convey.
Everyone knows the winners. Many know the losers. But what about those in between? This is the question the initial few minutes of the film poses to us. We are introduced to Aravind ( Ashok Selvan ) whom the film wants us to believe is the typical middle bencher in schools. In other words he is the average student, someone whose face even the class teacher does not recognise. The foremost problem is the characterisation of Aravind. Average student does not translate to a childish/immature teenager. But this is what the film portrays Aravind as. He sort of represents a character like 'Chappani' in modern clothing. A film about this character is not going to be a problem but when you have this character as the representation of middle benchers (who are actually the majority of the population) then you need to be more cautious in ensuring that his traits are close to reality.
The acting for the most part borders on being a little over the top. Even someone like Nasser comes across as comical in a role that is supposed to be dignified. It is Priya Anand and Samuthirakani who look at ease. Bala Saravanan too chips in at places. It is difficult to judge Ashok Selvan's performance due to the issues already mentioned. John Vijay's antics are a major irritant.
You can draw a parrallel between this film and Edhir Neechal. Both have a lot of similarities. The problem that comes in the way of the lovers here is the same as the one in the Sivakarthikeyan starrer. Is it a coincidence that Priya Anand plays the part in both these films? But the major difference – the hero was a loser in Edhir Neechal. Here we are told that he is the average person found amongst us. But the portrayal is that of a loser . The message itself is confusing. The film shows the hero achieving something and being successful. Then there are dialogues asking if success is everything? It is as though the film says two things which appear to be entirely contradicting.
a) An average person will be successful if he has confidence and works hard. He has to aspire for that
b) There is nothing wrong in being average. Success is not everything and it is relative.
The climax portions seem a little better but even that works more like a standalone documentary. It bears a lot of similarity with the Malayalam film Ustaad Hotel. Kootathil Oruvan too propbably aspired to tell the 'coming-of-age' story of its protagonist. But the lack of clarity in sketching the leading man's character plays spoilsport.
Kootathil Oruvan tries to be a light-hearted film and also preach us. It is just able to pass muster with respect to the former and is confused about the latter.