Movie Review: Sillunu Oru Kaadhal

Director: N. Krishna
Actors: Surya, Jyothika, Bhoomika Chawla
Music: A.R.Rahman
Release date: 8 September 2006
Love triangles are as old as cinema itself. Every type has been experimented; right from extra-marital affairs to teeny-bop college romances. Sillunu Oru Kaadhal (Love is like a soothing breeze) is also at heart, a love triangle, but what sets it apart from the rest of the movies of its genre is its treatment and unique storyline.

Penned by director N. Krishna and A.C.Durai, SOK has two love stories in it: one, a mature love story of a husband and wife brought together through an arranged marriage and the other, a breezy but passionate college love story. The movie begins with Kundavi (Jyothika) talking about her childhood days with her two best-friends, Tamizh and Subbu. As young girls, they swear on their Gods that when they get married, it will only be through love marriage because they believe that it is the only way that they will be able to find true love. Tamizh and Subbu are lucky enough to have their way, but Kundavi is forced to tie the knot with Gowtham (Surya).

Its ironic how this real life couple (they got married three days after the movie released on 11 September 2006) look utterly dull and gloomy on their wedding day. It becomes clear that Gowtham is also not happy with the union as he is seen sending text messages during the ceremony. Kundavi feels that her life is doomed forever. However, cut to Mumbai, six-years later where Kundavi and Gowtham are both working professionals. They are living a happy and contented life full of romance which they attribute to the fact that they had an arranged marriage and fell in love after getting married. They have a five-year old daughter, Aishwarya, who they lovingly call Aishu.

Gowtham gets a chance to go to New York for a few days and this is when Kundavi comes across an old diary of Gowtham’s from his college days. She learns from the dairy,that Gowtham was not only in love with a girl from his college, Aishu (Aishwarya, played by Bhoomika Chawla) but was also married to her for a while. On the day of their register marriage, Aishu’s father, who is an MP, comes with some of his men who beat Gowtham black and blue and take Aishu away forcefully. Gowtham and his friends try to look for her everywhere but in vain. Eventually, Gowtham, as a dying wish of his uncle’s, agrees to marry Kundavi. At the end of the diary, Gowtham writes that if he could spend one day with Aishu, then that would be equivalent to spending an entire lifetime with her.

Kundavi, still shocked and unable to come to terms with her husband’s past, avoids him after he returns from New York. She even goes down to Gowtham’s village, Kovai, to meet up with Aishu, who has spent the last 6 years in Australia and has come down to visit her ailing mother. Kundavi grants her husband his wish and invites Aishu to spend that one day with him so that he may not have any regrets later. What happens after that, whether Gowtham goes back to Kundavi or not is what makes the story line interesting.

The performances by the lead actors are also commendable. The character changes that Surya and Bhoomika’s characters go through have been well-handled by the two actors. But it is Jyothika who melts your heart with her performance as the selfless wife who goes to extremes to prove her devotion and love for her husband. Also, the chemistry shared by the real life couple, Jyothika and Surya, should be another reason for watching the movie.

Director N.Krishna has done a wonderful job as a director (He has also penned the screenplay and the dialogues). It is difficult to keep the audiences engrossed to a movie where the story only moves forward towards the end of the first half. But he does so with great ease and his talent is seen in the way he manages to maintain the pace of the movie and capture the emotions of the two love stories which are diametrically opposite to each other. He is able to keep the narrative alive inspite of an otherwise static story-line of the first half. However, the narrative suddenly seems to speed up especially towards the end of the movie as if he is trying to make up for lost time.

However, that is just one flaw in an otherwise impeccable narrative. Also the second half of the movie with its twists and turns, keeps the audience glued to their seats. This is another example of a strong script and good direction. Director N.Krishna has an able team of technicians supporting him throughout, beginning with cinematographer R.D.Rajasekhar.

Rajasekhar’s camera-work is the stuff genius is made of. How he manages to infuse life into an otherwise simple story-line is what gives the narrative the extra edge. Watch out for the various camera-angles he has used in the scene where their daughter is trying to take something off the over-head cabinet in the kitchen (a simple but over-used scene in many ads and movies). Such innovations in camera-work are a rarity in case of love-stories, but that’s the creative genius of R.D.Rajasekhar. His creativity is especially noticeable in the song ‘New York nagaram’, arguably the best shot song of the movie.

The movie has been edited by Anthony, who keeps the flow of the movie smooth and easy-going. The music is another winner. With A.R.Rahman at the helm of it, how can it go wrong anyway? Each song in the movie actually helps to move the story forward. Munbe vaa, the love song of the year, captures the pangs of young love beautifully whereas ‘New York Nagaram’ sung by Rahman himself, is an ode to a love that is mature and realistic, yet youthful. The imaginative and romantic lyrics are the handiwork of renowned Indian poet, Vaali, whose lyrics appeal to the both the romantic and not-so romantic types.

All in all, SOK is worth-while effort and a must-watch for all the romantic movie buffs.
Sneha Padiyath

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