Paava Kadhaigal review – A bold, hardhitting anthology on honour killing with excellent writing and performances

Title: Paava Kadhaigal
Rating: 3.5/5
Reviewed By: Sai Nikhil
Cast: Kalidas Jayaram, Shanthnu Bhagyaraj, Bhavani Sre, Anjali, Kalki Koechlin, Gautham Vasudev Menon, Simran, Sai Pallavi, Prakash Raj
Director: Sudha Kongara, Vignesh Shivan, Gautham Vasudev Menon, Vetrimaaran
Streaming on: Netflix
Language: Tamil

Story: The anthology comprises of four stories: Thangam directed by Sudha Kongara talks about sexuality and how it is connected with pride and society. Love Panna Uttranum directed by Vignesh Shivan talks about love in relation to caste. Vaanmagal by Gauthav Vasudev Menon talks about society’s interpretation of a “pure soul”. Oor Iravu by Vetrimaaran depicts the extent to which people would go for their honour and respect in society.

Performances: Every single actor in every single story has been very perfectly cast. Kalidas Jayaram is a definite show-stealer in this anthology. He is too good as Sathaar and will win heaps of praises for his performance. Shanthnu, Simran, Sai Pallavi and Prakash Raj have all used their experience to dish out excellent performances and create excellent emotional connect. Anjali appears in a very bold role and there is another surprise character in Vignesh Shivan’s film who will leave you in splits.

Technicalities: Camerawork is excellent in all stories and there is a variation in tone in all stories. Among the four, camerawork in Thangam stands out due to excellent recreation of early 80’s timeline. Music is also good. Anirudh’s music has been extensively used to lighten up the proceedings in Vignesh Shivan’s story. Vetrimaaran’s story has very limited music score. The other stories have used music carefully and neatly as per the requirement. Editing is good in all stories and makes sure each story creates intended impact.

Analysis: The anthology is based on the theme ‘Honour killing’ and it’s main causes and effects. Each director has made their own interpretation and presented the film in their own style. Vignesh Shivan’s story is the most different one among the four in terms of treatment. Despite covering the theme, it is entertaining and funny in a certain way which may either shock and disappoint the viewer or surprise them completely in a good way. Sudha Kongara’s story is undoubtedly the pick of the lot. The characters are neatly written and excellently acted. The 1980’s timeline is beautifully recreated and the Coimbatore slang has been nicely captured. The emotional connect is superb and the treatment is hardhitting. Gautham Menon and Vetrimaaran’s stories focus more on the thought process within the characters. The dialogues are excellent in both stories. While Gautham Menon offers a surprising climax, Vetrimaaran offers a predictable one that too not in a way we expect. Vetrimaaran’s story is raw, non-linear and most brutal and hardhitting among all but in comparison to the other stories, it does not present any element of awe or surprise.

On a whole: Paava Kadhaigal is a bold and engaging anthology which talks about several important issues. It is definitely a game changer for South Indian OTT. A must watch.

Rating: 3.5/5

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