Before we lose ourselves in our own groping words, trying to balance an honest opinion of Kungum Poovum Konjum Puravum (KPKP) and still do justice to its simplicity and real-ness, allow us to cut to the chase and tell you: WATCH the movie. Don’t look for faults; don’t expect flamboyance; don’t expect big, starry names; just appreciate the sensitivity and attention to detail while narrating a very simple and poignant love story.
This is not a movie for voyeurs and thrill-seekers wanting to lose themselves in heavily rose-tinted celluloid. KPKP is all about a visual and emotional assault while speaking of the most mundane everyday lives.
Thulasi (Thananyya) and her grandmother move to a remote fishing village in the hope of a new life. Theirs is a tale of woe, but also one which is, sadly, quite commonplace – father ran away with another woman, leaving his family behind and mother remarried and moved on too, while they continued to be left behind. Thulasi, a 12th standard student, is a dusky beauty, all gentle grace and intelligence. Her run-in, friendship, deep bonding and ultimately, love, with Koocha (Ramakrishnan) begins at school. They study together (she’s the smart one and he quite honestly professes to having no scholarly ambitions), walk together, chat for hours and are the best of friends before love blooms, grows and brings them finally, to the knowledge that they were meant to be together for life.
Throughout the narration of this love, little details of village life are seamlessly woven in – bizarre traditions steeped in our culture long enough to seem quite ordinary and routine; immorality walking on the same street as cloying, conservative minds; neighbours who are your closest family. or your worst enemies.
From the moment of Thulasi and Koocha’s mutual acceptance of a deep bond begins the gut-wrenching rollercoaster of their lives. Happiness takes a nosedive when Koocha leaves for a school excursion, but Thulasi stays behind. And from here on, we leave it to you to watch this ride and be carried along with it on the big screen.
The village that was once Thulasi’s home becomes her hell…Ill-luck shows her macabre sense of humour through the men Thulasi encounters in her suddenly nomadic existence. Life seems to be a quagmire of unwittingly unwise decisions, constant fear and a desperate struggle to hold onto a hope of love.
Everyday people walk on the edge of sanity every day. And Thulasi must walk with them; that is the way of our culture. And of course, always, the questions: What happens to Thulasi? Do she and Koocha have a life together? Or is he as callous as the men in her life so far? Why, oh, why must a woman alone suffer so much, at the hands of other women, even? Does Thulasi break her bonds? All answers better seen onscreen.
Throughout the simple yet powerful narrative, we are never allowed to forget this: the image of the gut-deep reality of Tamil Nadu’s village and small-town life, with all its colour, mayhem, thrills, chaos, order, strange contrasts, compassion and brutality.
Two giant pluses for KPKP are: the beauty of the locations and the performances of the entire cast. Director Rajamohan has chosen breathtaking locations which are as naturally beautiful as they are ordinary. The white sand, the manic buses, the scores of rustic fishing boats dragged up and anchored along the shoreline, dotting the beach with their rugged form, peeling paint and messy beauty. Even the filthy, gutter-filled alleys and ordinary village homes come to life.
As for performances, Ramakrishnan, Tananyya and Tarun (who plays the local goon Dharma), simply take the cake with their strong characterizations and exemplary [email protected] Ramakrishnan is the image of a young, slightly vain and rustic young local hero; at once convincing us of Koocha’s complete scallywag nature while easing us into his staunch devotion to Thulasi and unshakeable belief in his love for her.
Tananyya is beautiful, quiet, dignified. She is like a gentle goddess. Her eyes speak volumes and she doesn’t require words for expressing her feelings.
Big, loud, crude and ugly words from the mouth are what Tarun’s Dharma does best and this dirty baddie simply wows with his disgusting habits and personality that strangely alternates with a tiny compassionate streak.
One can’t take due credit away from almost anyone in every frame of the film, though. From the catty neighbour to Koocha’s mom to Thulasi’s unfortunate grandmother to Dharma’s loose sister and even Koocha’s friends – every character has meaning and his/her role is well-done.
The camerawork and sets are very good, even if not phenomenal. The freshness and beauty of Tamil Nadu’s coastline are brought into full play, with all its colours and imperfections. The flow of the story is fairly good and there are hardly any choppy eddies and currents. The music is exceptionally good and Yuvanshankar Raja has surprised us by giving us chart-rockers even for a small-budget movie as this.
One minus is the slowness of the first half. For a while, the tale just meanders along sluggishly, with some good humour here and there, but needing more. The other minus is the complete absence of even the more barely-known actor – for some of us, this helped us focus on the tale and not its protagonists alone; but for others, it is something to difficult to relate to.
Never mind all this. Every giant step for movies has started with a small step by innovative filmmakers. Producer S.P. Charan has taken a bold stride with his trilogy of smart, yet commercially practical projects movies he is producing, with KPKP being the first. In a time of mindless nonsense, KPKP, while being far from perfect, is a breath of fresh air. Kudos are due. But – next movie, a tad faster please, though???