“Where do I even begin? This is one of the few films that leaves a lasting impact on you, it may even change your beliefs. If you’re a strong-willed person, get ready for your heart to be softened up a little bit and if you’re even a remotely emotional person, please watch this film with a few tissues by your side.”
Paava Kadhaigal (PK) is helmed by directors who have been known to produce emotional but commercial films (nice choices, Netflix!). Sudha Kongara directs the first part that’s an admixture of a Hindu-Muslim marriage and Homosexuality. Vignesh Shivn directs the next which is an uber-chic take on Homosexuality and how it affects the “image” of the subject’s parents. Gautham Vasudev Menon stars in his own film with a rural backdrop and for maximum impact, the best is saved for the last. Vetrimaaran directs a 35-minute “syringe-of-a-story” that will leave a deep impact on you.
If you’ve watched the trailer, the entire plot is told upfront but what makes PK tick is the impact of all four stories put together. Each story carries its own weight and your heart might become heavy if you watch all of these 4 stories at a stretch.
The first story by Sudha Kongara has an amazing performance by Kalidas Jayaram, who plays a homosexual. From the first frame, his character “Sathaar”, encapsulates you like no other and the empathy you feel for him is on another level. If not anything, these kinds of films teach you that weak people are to be protected and not ignored. Sudha Kongara has followed Chekhov’s Gun rule to the “T” and not one unnecessary element is present in the story. Maximum impact in a short period of time equals a story that cannot be easily forgotten.
The second story starts with a Thirukkural (think of it as the Kabir ke Dohe equivalent of Tamil Literature) recited beautifully by Kalki Koechlin that sets the ball rolling for the story. Directed by Vignesh Shivn, this has a haunting BGM by Anirudh Ravichander (Yes, the Kolaveri Di guy) that sets off just at the right moment in the film. Even this film has two stories running parallel with a black comedy angle. No, you’re not a bad person if you laugh out loud while watching this film. The comedy sequences, that are aplenty, bring in the much-needed respite from poignancy in this story.
Gautham Vasudev Menon’s films have always had modern houses, fancy automobiles, lead characters coming in from the affluent parts of town and proficiency in English that only the cream of the crop have. In PK, he has broken his own shackles and has directed a film with a rural, rustic backdrop. His story is very straightforward and now that everyone knew the ending and the film lacked an emotional touch, it isn’t the best of his work. I’m not saying this because the plot was given away in the trailer but let’s just say directing films with a rural backdrop is not for him!
The last film by Vetrimaaran has the impact of a cyclone that you just can’t escape from. The suspense created and even the dark visuals ensure that you’ll find yourself open-mouthed and numb while watching a few scenes.
Prakash Raj plays a typical, rural father who doesn’t approve of inter-caste marriages. His daughter marries a person from another caste and is living happily in Bangalore. Initially, he seems to have accepted his daughter’s marriage but the way he transforms from a loving, accommodative father to a cold-blooded murderer deserves applause.
Prakash Raj’s speech in the film has the tone of a man who has all but given up on his “respect in the society” but the way he transforms into his true character is the stuff of legend. Even if you skip the other films in this anthology, watch this piece for a masterclass on inducing suspense in your films and creating an explosion-of-sorts with the transformation of characters.
All in all, this is a must-watch for people who have a thing for poignant stories. Oh, by the way, this is definitely not the film to “Netflix and Chill.”