Chinnavandu is forced to elope with Vana Roja, but with his two elder brothers still unmarried, he has to hide the fact that he is married. Meanwhile, both his brothers try to woo the girl. How long can the lovers hold on to their secret?
In his first two films,
Vaagai Sooda Vaa
, Sarkunam showed that he is different from his contemporaries. In both these films, he took time to weave his plots, telling his story in a leisurely manner.
, too, is a leisurely-paced film, a genteel comedy set in a small town, revolving around a romance. But what sets it apart, in a rather unfortunate way from the earlier films, is that this time, the characters and scenes are less interesting, and the tone and rhythm of the film inconsistent.
The film is inspired from the 1993 Malayalam film
a fact that the director, to his credit, acknowledges at the beginning. It is about Chinnavandu who is forced to elope with Vana Roja, a dentist he loves. The catch is that he has two elder brothers who both remain unmarried, despite being in their late 30s. He brings Vana Roja into the household as an orphan who could be useful in managing their brass metal shop. But with both his brothers trying to woo the girl, their secret could soon be out in the open.
The problem with
is that before we get to this storyline we spend almost the entire first half with nothing much going on. We are introduced to the characters in the most cinematic way — he leaps across a well to showcase his heroism while she is presented as fanciful and innocent when she wishes for the train to stop where she wants. Then, we spend an hour watching Chinnavandu try and woo Vana Roja, who has already promised her doting dad that she will only marry a man of his choice. These scenes are not woven into one another but appear as stand alone scenes that can easily be edited and played on the various music and comedy channels on TV. For a contrast, think of
where one incident lead to the next which, in turn, led to another. The film sinks under the dullness of these scenes and the romance (Vana Roja falls in love after seeing Chinnavandu jump from one tree to another); Ghibran's songs, which sound interesting as an album, too are so badly placed that they feel unwelcome here.
The second half at least has a semblance of story to hold things together, despite us never getting a convincing reason to buy into the idea that the hero and the heroine have to hide their marriage from his family. But the inherent will-they-get-caught narrative tension somewhat lessens the crassness of the scenes and the broadness of the characters. When Chinnavandu's brothers, Paranjothi and Paranthaman, begin to fancy Vana Roja, we are expected to take it as comedy, never minding the incestuous tones. Thankfully, Sriman and Sathyan who play these characters never let us believe that their actions are serious.
Sarkunam also presents both Chinnavandu and Vana Roja as passive characters. Even when things turn serious, like when their father decides to marry off the girl to Paranjothi or when their mother mistakes that Vana Roja is in love with Paranthaman, they do not choose to reveal the truth, hoping that things will somehow get alright. We are shown Chinnavandu trying to rent a house but that only feels feeble. It doesn't help that Dhanush tries a little too hard to make the character a fun and lovable person.