04 Jul, 2013 1 hr 45 mins U
Nassar, M. S. Bhaskar, V. Jayaprakash, Lakshmy Ramakrishnan

If you like absurd black comedies, you’ll find this film interesting.


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  • Critic's Review
  • Times of India
Synopsis: When Ottagam, a tribal chieftain is shot, Ramky (Balaji) and Sangli (Venkatesh), two bumbling constables, try to solve the murder. But things soon turn chaotic when Ramky accidentally shoots a man.

Review: There are quite a few things that immediately get you interested in the beginning of Sutta Kadhai . The film opens with a card that states that everything in the film - from Koramalai, the sleepy hill station where it is set in to the characters, the police force, the tribals, and even the animals and the liquor are fictitious. The animated title credits sequence that follows too raises your expectations (one of the composers is cheekily labeled 'Isai Muyal'!). The initial set-up is also quirky, and we are introduced the film's major characters, each of whom has an eccentricity that begins with their name (Sangili, Ottagam, Silanthi, Olive Twist), and promises more wacky moments. And, it also daringly gives us hilarious fictional episodes (featuring Killer Kabali from Sambasivam Crime Comics) inside this fictional world!

Sadly, despite all these promising elements, the film never takes off, chiefly because director Subu sacrifices the narrative in going for the quirks. The plot kicks in with a tribal chieftain being shot. The local cops and the chieftain's daughter are looking for the murderer. Meanwhile, one of the constables shoots a man in an inebriated state, and is trying to dispose the body, along with his colleague. There is enough silliness in all these arcs but somehow, the film is unable to combine the absurdity with the progression of the story. So, what we are left with are a few hits and plenty of misses.

Still, the film isn't something to be ignored because it is ambitious enough to try to transcend the typical slapstick that has become the template for comedy films here. You can see the thought that has gone into the making and it succeeds in holding its fictional universe, together. Subu manages to include references to the real world — a junior cop who is close to the minister gets royal treatment from his superior, a bar sequence descends into an illumination of the drinking habits around the world, a tea shop signboard is very much a reflection of our English (Paradise is written as Paradesi); there is even a cheeky reference to a popular Tamil song and its original tune — and still keep his story rooted in the imaginary place. The characters in this world too are bumbling clowns and they remain so even in the end.

Note: If you like absurd black comedies, you'll find this film interesting.
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