An mediocre masala film rescued by powerful amma sentiments in Kodiyil Oruvan.
The opening half of Kodiyil Oruvan is chock-full of masala cinema embellishments that will please any fan of the genre. The film opens in Kombai, where a local bigwig (Poo Ramu) urges a young woman (Divya Prabha, who is quite excellent) to run for local office. He wants a proxy since the area has been designated as a reserved constituency for women. However, the lady is an idealist (she is introduced while washing the national flag), and she proves to be a thorn in the man’s plans once elected. As a result, he chooses to smack her, but she manages to flee and give birth to a kid, who also brings her back from the dead.
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Ananda Krishnan creates the storey surrounding his protagonist, Vijayaraghavan, in the opening 15 minutes (Vijay Antony). So, when this guy arrives in Chennai to study for his IAS test and fulfil his mother’s wishes, we already know that this avatara purushan would do much more. This volunteer quickly gains the respect of the community in which he lives – a run-down housing board neighbourhood. He begins to rehabilitate the teenagers there, cleans up the trash, and soon finds himself in the crosshairs of the corrupt local councilman (Super Subbarayan) and his thugs, Sullu and Conference Karuna (Prabhakar).
Can Vijayaraghavan keep his word to his mother, especially after antagonising the councillor’s employer, Bedda Perumal (Ramachandra Raju), a powerful politician?
The way Ananda Krishnan retains the mother-son connection as the driving force of the tale gives Kodiyil Oruvan weight. Vijay Antony’s amma feeling worked wonders for him in Pichaikkaran, thus it’s no surprise that he chose this script. The filmmaker arranges scenarios in which his protagonist’s willpower is put to the test, and by having Sullu, in particular, ready for a fight, he heightens our anticipation for the moment when Vijayaraghavan explodes.
Even though we’ve seen them before, these scenes keep us engaged in the storey. What occurs following the protagonist’s explosion distinguishes Kodiyil Oruvan from similar flicks. We find Vijayaraghavan still feeling sorry for himself and attempting to flee the issue that is threatening to destroy his dream and is there in front of him.
However, the narration becomes shaky in the second half, which feels like a completely different film in terms of tone and composition. It devolves into a political drama that asks the audience to make too many leaps of faith and comes off as a one-man show.
The writing, which felt tight and focused as long as the plot was limited to the housing board neighbourhood, now feels disjointed and disjointed. In contrast to the first half, the adversaries do not appear to be genuine dangers. Despite the build-up, Bedda Perumal remains a passive antagonist who only acts when it is too late.
Ananda Krishnan also wants to show how the system works (or, more accurately, fails to work), thus he shows us scenes from Vijayaraghavan’s fights within the corporation. These moments have a farcical feel to them. Most significantly, Vijay Antony’s repetitive acting style, which works better for the character we see in the first half, does not work for these scenes, which need for a more dramatic performance. When Vijayaraghavan recites statistics, they are flat. And, after a slow build-up in the first two-thirds, a lot happens in the last third, making the scenes feel hurried. The amma emotion, at the end, is what saves the movie from going off the rails.
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