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Times of India
Synopsis: Two Class 12 students — a boy and a girl — go missing on the eve of their final exams. The cops launch an investigation to find out what has really happened to them — were they kidnapped or were they lovers who had eloped?
Review: The storytelling in Pallikkoodam Pogaamalae is hardly sophisticated, but there is a naivety and sincerity in the way director Jayaseelan tells his story that makes it the kind of movie you don't regret watching. The film is an investigative drama that turns to melodrama with an added bit of nostalgia for school life. The film begins with two students — a boy and a girl — being chased by goons. They manage to evade them and hitch a ride with a seemingly benevolent stranger.
Meanwhile, the girl's rich father approaches the police suspecting that his daughter has eloped with the boy, who is the son of a call taxi driver. The cops launch an investigation, and as the investigate people connected with both these students (from their parents to school authorities and friends), we learn about the nature of every one of these characters and the equations between them. Jayaseelan uses tried and tested cliches — constantly criticising father, indulging mother, strict teacher, compassionate nun, jealous classmate, dubious stranger, brilliant cop — but he makes them work that the film engages to an extent, though the songs are breaks for the audience to play with their mobile phones. And he manages to maintain the suspense around what has actually happened to the missing students.
It takes us some times to get into the melodramatic and old-fashioned storytelling, but what trips up the film is the overtly preach climactic portion where we see the cop turning into a counsellor offering advice to parents, teachers and students to stress up the point that children shouldn't be burdened with the goal of success in academics. Plus, there is nothing edgy about the film, which, at times, feels like a tame retread of Thullovatho Ilamai's theme minus the raging hormones.