Paava Kadhaigal: Intense and realistic storytelling

Paava Kadhaigal: Intense and realistic storytelling

'Paava Kadhaigal' sees an ensemble cast.

Paava Kadhaigal

Directors: Sudha Kongara, Vignesh Shivan, Gautam Menon and Vetrimaaran 

Cast: Kalidas Jayaram, Anjali, Sai Pallavi, Prakash Raj, Simran, Gautam Menon

Rating: 3.5/5

Streaming on Netflix

In the final month of a year grappling with a global pandemic, ‘Paava Kadhaigal’ (Sin Stories) reminds us of the several deep-rooted ‘diseases’ of Indian society that have grown in strength over the centuries, with no cure in sight.

The caste system, the taboo against interfaith marriage, and the ostracisation of the LGBT community aren’t cinematically untouched subjects. But the Netflix Tamil anthology scores by avoiding a formula approach.

‘Paava Kadhaigal’ begins with Sudha Kongara’s ‘Thangam’. The short on unrequited love and discrimination once again reiterates the director’s strength of eliciting brilliant performances and staging solid scenes, so much so that you forgive the predictability of the plot. Kalidas Jayaram’s performance is the film’s highlight.

‘Love Panna Uttranum’ is the odd one out of the four short films. Not because it has two conflicts in an inter-caste marriage and a same-sex relationship, but because director Vignesh Shivan sticks to his strength, dark humour, amidst the serious tone of the anthology. One must admire his confidence.  

The film has emotional and tense moments, and sometimes leaves you with a chuckle. That’s a superb achievement.

Gautam Menon’s ‘Vaanmagal’ is the simplest of all. Yet, it gives us the kind of closure we wish for in such stories. It gets into the psyche of people who don’t hesitate to kill in the name of honour. All it takes is to replace hatred with love and tolerance.

Simran isn’t given too many lines to speak, but an evergreen performer emotes through the eyes and the gifted actor does that effortlessly.

Vetrimaaran’s ‘Oor Iravu’ is closest to the anthology’s intention. One needs strength to sit through the final 15 minutes of this gut-wrenching father-daughter drama. The director masterfully slips in themes like the value of education in a film that leaves you shaken.

Compared to Netflix’s original productions ‘Lust Stories’ and ‘Ghost Stories’, ‘Sin Stories’ comes across as the best effort in the anthology format.