Kathukutti is a film along the lines of Kaththi and 49-O. While Kaththi mixed entertainment with its message about farmers, 49-O did the same with a satirical take on politics. Kathukutti also tells its audience about the importance of agriculture, and the dangers of methane extraction in the delta regions of Tamil Nadu. But with all its noble intentions, the script veers off track so many times, that trying to keep track of the story is exhausting.
Narain and Soori are full grown adults. They don’t have a job (of course) and uselessly squander away their time with other vetti. That is, when they aren’t busy drinking until they can’t feel their own heads. (Note: this must be Kollywood’s No.1 profession. At least one movie every week has to have a lead actor who does nothing but drink.) But Arivu (Narain) is an Arivaali. He’s a gold medallist at his university. So why is he vetti? Because he wants to work in agriculture. Laudable. Except we never see him making any effort in that direction. Unless, of course, his drinking helps the crops grow. Quite by chance, he happens to become a candidate for an MLA post. As soon as he hears the news, coincidentally in the middle of a brawl with a group of youngsters, Arivu falls at their feet and cries Mannichudunga (forgive me). He then looks right at the camera and asks for forgiveness. Too late, Arivu. Touché.
The screenplay, especially in the first half, wanders aimlessly. Scenes of Narain and Soori drinking. Then a song about drinking. Then a preachy song about agriculture. Then a fight scene between two gangs. Narain wears his role well, but his lines have such a strong Malayalam accent, that even the most powerful dialogues sound fake. And for no particular reason, he looks worn out throughout the film. His hairstyle makes one wonder when a comb last touched his hair. Soori does his job. Nothing out of the ordinary. The usual one liners and funny impressions of English words. It evokes a few laughs. The best written character is Srushti Dange’s. She’s nothing like commercial cinema’s stereotypical village girl. You know, the ones who have the exciting job of looking coy and waving dhavanis in song sequences. In Kathukutti, Srushti plays a strong willed girl who loves her village, her farm, the plants, and the birds. She does a neat job. Although, we can’t help but wish that her lip syncing had been half as neat.
Preachy speeches thrown together with some commercial entertainment do not make for good cinema. Kathukutti, with its strong opinions on the importance of agriculture, falters right there. There are scenes where the characters talk at length about the plight of farmers who die of hunger every day. And how educated urban dwellers don’t see this as their problem. Someone should remind them that cinema is about narrative and emotions, not speechifying in front of the camera. In one scene, the heroine doesn’t want to hurt the ants inside her house. She lures them out by placing a handful of sugar outside. Then she says, “We should not hurt even unwanted beings”. In another scene, Arivu and his friends kidnap a small screen artist. Why? Because she acted in a promotional feature for a real estate company. A company which has taken over agricultural lands. In a scene that lasts 3 excruciating minutes, they try to educate her on how her actions affect the lives of simple villagers. Seriously?
The supporting cast appear to be inexperienced actors. They read out lines with mismatched expressions. There’s a police officer who wears sunglasses all the time. Even when it’s completely dark. Jeyaraja, as the concerned father, is the exception with a solid performance. In parts, his expressions and voice are reminiscent of his older brother Bharathiraja.
The technical aspects of the film are a massive let down. The music is forgettable. The camera work is patchy. In fact, some scenes awkwardly stand out because it’s clear they were filmed on a low-end camera.
‘Kathukutti’ in Tamil refers to people who are still learning something. Who are far from being experts. The Kathukutti in this case, is R Saravanan. His intentions may be noble, but in the language of filmmaking, he’s clearly still a novice.
The Kathukutti Review is a Silverscreen original article. It was not paid for or commissioned by anyone associated with the movie. Silverscreen.in and its writers do not have an advertising relationship with movies that are reviewed on the site.