Kootathil Oruthan Synopsis:
An average guy — a middle-bencher — tries to become a hero to win the heart of the girl — a state topper.
Kootathil Oruthan Review:
Arvind (Ashok Selvan, who adds a bit of caricature to make the character plain), the protagonist of Kootathil Oruthan, is every bit an unexceptional guy. At home, he is the second of three children (the middle one, get it?). His studious sister has a software job. His younger brother is good at both studies and sports. At school, he is a middle-bencher, the guy whose presence is hardly registered by both the teachers and his fellow students. And he is plain average — scoring 50 and passing his exams, but a disappointment to his father (Maarimuthu), a teacher, who wants him to be a high-achiever.
Life takes a pleasant, hopeful turn for Arvind when he gets praised by Janani (Priya Anand, Ok-ish). She is a state-topper, with big dreams. Arvind feels she could be the girl for him, and even enrolls in the same journalism course to woo her. But when he expresses his interest to her, she declines pointing out that he isn’t an achiever. Can Arvind prove himself and make her love him?
There’s also a grateful gangster (Samuthirakani, typecast) who helps Arvind in his romance, and a crooked cop (John Vijay, again!) who is yearning for payback. And this impacts Arvind’s life, too.
The first half of Kootathil Oruthan coasts along, largely on light-hearted scenes that use situations involving Arvind’s average-ness for humour. But the credit for most of the laughs should go to Balasaravanan, who is in sparkling form and comes up with some LOL lines.
While Arvind’s complaints of being invisible to everyone feel repetitive, some dialogues are effective (“Saadhichitu vandhu love pannu-nu solra, naanellam love panradhe saadhanai dhaan”, “Naanga edhulayum jeikkardhum illa, thokkaradhum illa”) and make us empathise with his plight. Still, there are times when we can’t help but wonder if the average guys are this unhappy in life.
In addition to being the story of an average guy and his success, Kootathil Oruthan tries to also be one about his romance. This results in the film losing some of its lightness and feel-goodness. And worryingly, it uses the clichéd device of a lying hero and a heroine who cannot forgive a lie to present us this romance. This results in the film’s focus turning into one that is mostly about Arvind’s lies being discovered at any moment. And by the time the film gets back to its original theme — even the average person can do noteworthy things — it is too late. These climactic portions have a semi-documentary feel, and are firmly in message-movie territory. And the director chooses to tie up the romantic track, too, and this leads to an unintentionally funny end. Perhaps it is no accident then that this film about an average guy feels so plain and ordinary.