Synopsis: A fish belonging to a gangster, who considers it his lucky charm, gets stolen and ends up with a guy whose luck has always been rotten.
Review: Given its premise and its possibilities, Kattapava Kanom could have been wackier, still, in its present form, the film is an amusing diversion. The plot revolves around a Vaastu fish, the titular Kattappa, which gets stolen from its owner Vanjaram (Mime Gopi), a gangster who strongly believes it to be his lucky charm, and ends up at the house of Pandian (Sibiraj), whose string of misfortunes since birth has made his own father call him Bad Luck Pandi. He and his wife Meena (Aishwarya Rajesh), decide to keep the fish, just because their neighbour, a little girl being raised by her dad, believes it to be lucky.
Meanwhile, a trio of criminals (Kaali Venkat, Thirumurugan and Jayakumar) places Pandi and Meena under ‘house arrest’ believing that they were told the hiding place of Rs 4 crore by their now-dead accomplice. And Vajaram employs an amateur detective (Dindigul Sravanan) to trace the whereabouts of his Kattappa.
What makes Kattapava Kanom work (to the extent it does) is that director Mani Seiyon understands the tone that this material needs and keeps it that way from start to finish — a playful, don’t-take-me-seriously tone that is smartly pitched on the right side of silliness. The director uses fish-related gags all through the film — names (Vanjaram, Sura, Kendai), costumes (a woman’s T-shirt has an illustration of fish), props (like Vanjaram’s chain) and even places (Minjur) — that add to the jokiness of the film. He also gets the casting right. Sibiraj is perfect for the role of Pandi, an everyday guy who isn’t all brains and brawns, but has enough smarts to get out of a sticky situation. Kaali Venkat makes good use of the double entendres that Mani Seiyon strews all over the script, though the U rating by the censor board bothers us at the back of our minds. And Yogi Babu, even in the brief screen time that he gets here, shows that he could be the next big comedian in Tamil cinema.
But the film never manages to transcend its material. While there are hardly any stretches where the laughs go missing, it isn’t zany enough, and the pacing feels leisurely at times. Sometimes, it is the sprightly (if overbearing) score by Santhosh Dhayanidhi that keeps reminding us to just relax and have fun.