Sweet, well-intended and truly delightful! Director Manikandan’s film Kaaka Muttai is a well-crafted film that leaves you awestruck with its simplicity. The film creates a sense of positivity in you, which instantly brings a smile to your face. With charming screen presence of its two lead child artists, lack of melodrama and the right amount of humor, Kaaka Muttai can well turn out to be one of the rare gems of Tamil cinema. Despite its slow story-book like way of narration, the film manages to win you over.
A National Award-winning film, Kaaka Muttai portrays a tale of two underprivileged kids whose only aim in life is to have a slice of pizza from the new pizza store. The movie subtly embeds themes such as he rich and poor divide, communalism and politics, without you even realizing that it’s conveying a stronger message. The film addresses pertinent issues with satire. The names of the lead characters aren’t disclosed till the end, and are addressed with the names– chinna Kaaka Muttai and periya Kaaka Muttai. Their innocence, their perception of the world outside theirs engages you. Sans cliches, their portrayal is almost refreshingly new.
They befriend many, one of their many friends include a wealthier kid of the neighboring area. And their rapport with him is so well-written. Unpredictability is one of the highlights of this movie. When they develop a bond with the wealthier kid, who has everything they need, you might predict the next scene to be a robbery or how the rich kid might insult their social class. But no, the filmmaker surprises us with something we didn’t expect. These kids aren’t in need of materialistic items that belong to others, they desire to rightfully earn it for themselves. A particular scene in which they are even offered a slice of pizza by their friend, is declined by the periya Kaaka Muttai. The scene speaks character, arrogance and determination. We don’t need it, we’ll earn it and buy it! Whereas the younger one keeps reminding the brother that they missed the best offer, and they should’ve taken it. If you’re familiar with sibling bond, then this is all about it. The elder one is always determined, whereas the younger one might have the tag of a just-go-with-the-flow-attitude. While the older one has a sense of determination in his eyes, the younger one looks innocent with a twinkle in his eyes! Another scene where your sense of judgement goes wrong is when their ‘Jackfruit’ friend takes them to a place where surplus coal is stored. We might begin to imagine he might mislead the kids or if the kids get caught red-handled while sneaking into the area, but they don’t! It surprises us right till the end, especially when it presents us with an unexpected climax. Making us realize that the film is definitely a cut above the rest.
A scene that mocks the format of the news channels is noteworthy. Every time there is a need to speak the truth, the news program pauses the sensible speaker for a break. It may have been there to gain few claps, but it definitely worked. Even the characters of Ramesh Thilak and his friend are hilarious. One thing that felt a little underwhelming was the character of Ishwarya Rajesh. Her role looks authentic, but it camouflages the fact that her performance is a little underwhelming. An otherwise expressive Ishwarya Rajesh gives a dull performance. The pace of the film isn’t a negative factor either, but you may find it a little slow in parts. Neither preachy nor melodramatic, this film will strike the perfect chord with you. A heartwarming film that is cooked to perfection.
Why you should watch this film?
This is undoubtedly one of the best films Tamil cinema will see this year! It offers more than a slice of pizza, it offers us a slice of Kaaka Muttai‘s life! Go for it. It might teach you a thing or two about materialism and your kids about, well, how to be kids!