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C/O Kadhalan Review: It Is Heartwarming, If Somewhat Contrived
C/O Kaadhal(Tamil, Netflix)
Directed by Hemambar Jasti
Rating: *** ½
By the end of the 2 hour-plus film about four star-crossed love-couple grappling with social strictures and emotional sleepingdogs, all but one of the stories comes to a tragic end. And there’s a good reason for why that one love saga survives.I can’t reveal the reason. Suffice it to say, C/O Kaadhal crosses all the dramatic highs and lows in the plot with confident steps, giving to four generations of couples a heap of hope and happiness before snatching it away in all but one instance.
Set in a small sleepy town in Tamil Nadu buzzing with gossipy busybodies, C/O Kaadhal is a joyful experience , perhaps more so if you haven’t seen the original 2018 Telugu film C/o Kancharapalem.My favourite love story in C/O Kaadhal is the one between the upright affable peon Palini(Deepan) and his new boss Radha(Sonia Giri). He is 49 and she is in her mid-40s. Can they dare to overcome the hurdles and confront the frowns? This story has some truly credible acting by Deepan and you can’t help but care for these two middle-aged anxious people in love. Radha’s daughter’s “interview” with her mother’s prospective husband is a gem of an encounter.
In fact the film brings you so close to the characters you feel their pain and anxiety and you root for their right to love no matter what their age. Velu(Nishesh) is just 12. But the intensity of his feelings for his classmate Sunitha(Wetha) is palpable. Velu’s heartbreak is heartbreaking, as is his disillusionment with God that leads to an unforeseen tragedy in his young life.
By the time the anthology ends two of the protagonists are dead and a third, the father of the spirited Bhargavi(Ayra Palak) threatens to hang himself if she insists on marrying her Catholic ruffian-turned-whitecollar lover Joseph(Krathik Rathnam). Here the touchy topic of conversion is sneaked into the plot. But no harm done. The director maintains a tonal clarity in his narration that eschews all morbidity, confers every story with an understated nobility and grace.
I love Dhaadi(Vetri)’s love for the sex worker Salima(Mumtaz Sorcar). He follows the veiled woman who comes to his liquor story every evening for a pint, refuses to cohabit with a shared prostitute with his friends as he wants to keep himself clean for the love of his life. And when he finds out that Salima is a sex worker he quietly hands her a packet of condoms .
Is Dhaadi for real? Probably not. But then every pursuit of ideal love is by its very definition an unattainable goal. This wonderful four-storeyed film with some winsome performances gives us four couples in love who are so real and so honest in their feelings for their loved ones that you want to see them happy.Of course things don’t go the way we hope. Love hurts.Thank God for that! Imagine if the pain and suffering of loving someone was taken away .Where would the pangs and aches of C/O Kaadhal go?