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Thursday, August 05, 2021

Vaanam Kottattum movie review: A family drama that doesn’t know what to do with the excellent cast

Vaanam Kottattum review: Sarathkumar, Radikaa and Vikram Prabhu star in a film that needed better writing.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5
Written by S Subhakeerthana | Chennai |
Updated: February 17, 2020 3:31:21 pm
Vaanam Kottattum review Vaanam Kottattum movie review: Vaanam Kottattum has too many characters, and it would have made for a better watch if the story had focused on the elderly couple—Bose and Chandra.

Vaanam Kottattum movie cast: Sarathkumar, Radikaa Sarathkumar, Vikram Prabhu, Aishwarya Rajesh, Madonna Sebastian
Vaanam Kottattum movie director: Dhana
Vaanam Kottattum movie rating: 2.5 stars

How challenging is it to make a multi-genre film? We understand that there is pressure to cater to everybody. At the heart of Vaanam Kottattum is a crux that is as old as the hills—in case, you have watched emotional family dramas—but the writers (Mani Ratnam and Dhana) give the film a different treatment. You get the idea of how Vaanam Kottattum wants to be an intense, good old family drama, but it takes a different route. The film begins in a village and eventually travels in an urban space. As a result, it doesn’t belong to where it originally should be.

Bose (Sarathkumar) ends up in jail for murdering someone owing to circumstances. His wife Chandra (Radikaa) feels her children Selva and Mangai (played by Vikram Prabhu and Aishwarya Rajesh, respectively) would be better people if they were away from Bose, and shift their base to Chennai. As a single mother, Chandra brings up her children. Bose returns to his family after 16 years. Dhana intentionally opts for a slow narrative, but it does try the patience of the audience at many points. Selva and Mangai aren’t kids anymore. They are adults. (While Selva is into the banana distribution business, Mangai pursues law.) Somehow, they aren’t comfortable with Bose’s presence. We understand why. Conflicts arise. (The emotions that erupt are predictable, though.) Bose remains a loving father, but Selva and Mangai act indifferent towards him. How everything becomes the way once it was, forms the plot.

Vaanam Kottattum has excellent bits of writing, but as a whole, it is not consistent. It wants to be both a rooted family story and a revenge drama. We get a not-so-breezy relationship between the father and son, like Agni Natchathiram. The portions involving the family are endearing. Radikaa and Sarathkumar breeze through their parts. But we don’t have answers to many ‘whys’. For example, Madonna Sebastian’s character arc needs closure, and we don’t get one. We don’t actually get to know Preetha, and why she falls for Selva; consequently—we never come around to caring about them. In fact, we saw Madhavan’s character from Aayatha Ezhuthu in Selva. (Considering how both are angry young men and have the Mani Ratnam connection.)

The same applies to the romantic track between Ram (Shanthnu Bhagyaraj) and Mangai (Aishwarya Rajesh). We barely meet Shanthnu’s character. Half the time, he is seen riding a bike, and that’s what he does throughout the film. And, suddenly, we are expected to buy this crucial scene where Mangai decides Ram is the ‘one’ for her. Again, Nanda’s character is too random and looks out of place. All right, he has been wronged in the past and wants to avenge Bose. But the character felt like a misfit in the film’s universe. (By the way, Nanda sports Anniyan-like hairstyle, and this is meant to scare the audience.)

Vaanam Kottattum has too many characters, and it would have made for a better watch if the story had focused on the elderly couple—Bose and Chandra. Agreed—family stories ought to have happy endings, and the intention is to make people leave theaters with beaming faces. But, post-interval, Vaanam Kottattum gets a tad generic. What the film gets bang-on is its light tone. A lot of frames remind us of what one calls ‘PC Sreeram’s touch’—and the credit goes to Preetha Jayaraman, the cinematographer. Also, we like how Vaanam Kottattum isn’t a superficial film made for a commercial purpose. There’s a lot of heart in it. But the intentions don’t quite translate on to the screen, as we expected. We see the presence of ’emotion’ in Vaanam Kottattum—the title. It is poetic, beautiful and intense. If only we could say similar things about the film.


Vaanam Kottattum is Sid Sriram’s debut film as a music director. He could be a fantastic singer, but no song particularly has a recall value. The background score, too, sounds like a mash-up of AR Rahman’s music.

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