Kutty Story Review: A Poor Anthology Redeemed By Vijay Sethupathi

Here’s our review on Tamil film Kutty Story that stars Vijay Sethupathi, Aditi Balan, Megha Akash, and Vinod Kishan. The film is directed by Gautham Menon, Vijay, Venkat Prabhu and Nalan Kumarasamy

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Kutty Story Review: A Poor Anthology Redeemed By Vijay Sethupathi

Inconsistent, unconvincing and worse, haphazard, this Tamil anthology of 4 stories left me cold. It is designed as virgin-fresh takes on love. But seems to be bogged down by the contradictions that the projects in its quest for contemporary urban voices of expression. Oftentimes, the series seems to bend backwards to appear new-fangled in its ideas and ideology. But eventually barring one story all the others seem compromised by their own inability to stay true to themselves.

I found the first story ‘Edhirpaara Muththam’ the most annoying. Gautam Menon who directs and plays the lead, wants to address that age-old question: can a man and a woman be platonic friends? Sex is the last thing on our minds as we watch this bland and sexless take on platonic-versus-sexual friendship done much more convincingly in cinema as diverse as Mehboob Khan’s Andaz and Rob Reiner’s ‘When Harry Met Sally’. Menon’s younger avatar Aadhi played by Vinod Kishan ( a much better actor than Menon)  is best friends with Mrinalini (Aamala Paul). They part and meet up many years later to examine their mutual feelings in a conversation that must interesting to the two people who are conversing if anyone at all. In-between Aadhi chuckles over ‘play-tonic’ feelings with his friends who seem to think women and men can only do one thing when they meet. And it’s not cooking.

The second story Avanum Naanum  is better, less trying-to-be-cool in tone and treatment than the first, although even here the treatment of  the  man-woman equation  leaves much to  be desired. Preethi (Megha Akash) and  Vikram (Amitash Pradhan)  “do it” one  stormy  night a la Aradhana. He then dies suddenly leaving her with the horrific prospect of being an unwed mother.  Some of the emotional moments such as one when Megha finds out about Vikram’s death are effective. But the whole hoo-ha about  getting an abortion seems very outdated, very Aradhana.

The third story ‘Lokham’ is  set against the backdrop of the gaming business.  Varun meets Eve while they participate in a game that is  a hit worldwide. Varun (played believe it or not, by an actor named Adam) then devotes himself to finding Eve. The story is mildly interesting, though finally it is done in an extremely pubescent tone. A more mature handling of the unusual story could have made it more than just a diversion.

Finally the best film of the omnibus ‘Aadal Paadal’ where the formidable Vijay Sethupathi gives a rousing performance as a sexist man blissfully cheating on his wife. The story has  some sly innuendos on  the myth of trust  in a marriage. And it is the only story of the quartet that  references the pandemic. But it is Vijay Sethupathi who holds it together with his compelling performance that mixes self-importance with gender insensitivity. If you are  a fan of Sethupathi’s  subtle  performing abilities then  this anthology may interest you. Otherwise, it is  a largely insufferable  mix of self-importance and mediocrity.

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