A chef who is separated from his wife decides to win back her love after she lands up at his doorstep asking for divorce.
In his debut film, the horror-comedy Yaamirukka Bayame, Deekay never allowed a scene to become serious (even when his characters were in mortal peril), and instead injected humour into it to make it fun. He adopts a similar approach in Kavalai Vendam, but this time, he isn’t able to pull it off successfully. The problem is that the premise, here, is closer to reality — a couple rediscovering their love for each other. Also, both his lead characters come across simply as silly individuals, so we neither care for their romance nor their misfortunes. In fact, every male character in this film is either trying to ‘correct’ a woman or being henpecked by one.
The film begins with Divya (Kajal Aggarwal, wearing designer clothes and playing dumb charades) telling her friend Shilpa (Shruthi Ramakrishna) about her fiancé Arjun (Bobby Simhaa, in an ‘American Maappillai’ role of sorts) and narrating episodes involving her first husband Aravind (Jiiva, looking fresh but adding little else), whom you could either dub happy-go-lucky or yet-another-wastrel. Divya goes to Conoor to get Aravind to sign their divorce papers, but he still pines for her (they are childhood friends, after all), and wants her to be his wife for a week. And just when they seem on the verge of rekindling their old flame, Arjun arrives, complicating things.
The moments that work in Kavalai Vendam are the ones where the director goes risqué. Deekay keeps giving us below-the-belt gags — as a kid, the hero pisses in a pool, and as a grown-up, his you-know-what gets stuck in the zip; one of the hero’s friends gets kicked in the crotch, while another takes a dump inside a police station ; a minor chase scene has a sight gag involving a character holding a mouse pup. But even these are hit-and-miss. For example, the one at the police station is laugh-out-loud funny (the film’s standout scene) while the zip scene is meh. An episode on a boat in the second half makes us laugh, but towards the end, bizarrely, Deekay does way with the playful tone and gets all mushy. We are supposed to get teary-eyed, but the sentimentality strikes a jarring note.
Cinematographer Abinandhan Ramanujam does a fab job in capturing the misty locales of Coonoor while composer Leon James tries to inject liveliness into the scenes with his bouncy score, and RJ Balaji, for his part, keeps cracking one-liners. But, half the time, it doesn’t help because the narrative lacks focus and the tone becomes jerky. This is perhaps why the jokes are scattershot.