Kaatrin Mozhi Review: Jyothika in a role we wouldn’t forget easily!

A remake of Vidya Balan’s awesome ‘Tumhari Sulu’.

Jyothika has come a long way, one would think. Right from her days since ‘Doli Saja Ke Rakhna’ to ‘Kaatrin Mozhi’, a massive change is evident in the way she chooses her films and the roles she emulates. If she embraced subtlety in ’36 Vayathinile’, she went rogue with ‘Naachiyaar’. ‘Kaatrin Mozhi’, however, is a role that isn’t the role of a lifetime for Jyothika. But it isn’t a role we would forget too soon. While we might laud the wave of change in her acting abilities, there’s still something that feels incomplete, inadequate. Surely she is no Vidya Balan, but Jyothika, in her own colourful, vibrant way, tries to bring life into a housewife who chooses a completely different career path and in turn, entertains the audience in her own way.

If ‘Tumhari Sulu’ came naturally to Vidya Balan, ‘Kaatrin Mozhi’ has Jyothika struggling in parts but holding it on her own in plenty of places. Vijayalakshmi or ‘Viji’ is a housewife who dotes on her husband and son, and knows how to have fun. She talks to herself, sings to herself, and tries to make merry while performing the most mundane activities. But that doesn’t mean she isn’t meant to be taken seriously. Having won competitions in her society, son’s school, and various other small-time contests, a chance win at a radio show takes her down a road that many are too reluctant to take. However, Viji is someone who winks at the face of a challenge and she takes it up.

As an RJ, she is tasked to be the host of a late night show and we all know the kind of calls that one would expect after hours. She’s good with handling it, though, but not her husband, a man who is himself so frustrated with his job. Vidhaart as the loving husband who briefly gets caught into the whole web of ‘what-would-society-think’ is happy to play second fiddle to Jyothika and still brings a certain freshness to his character. His role as Balakrishnan is a reminder to filmmakers that we need more characters of men who look at their wives as equals and not someone who polices or ridicules his wife as though she were his property.

A sincere remake indeed, but director Radhamohan’s love for melodrama gets translated onto most of the scenes, particularly the serious ones. Emotional scenes are portrayed with such ferocity, a deliberate attempt to make audience have a lump in their throat and fight back tears. This is mixed with an unnecessary amount of sermonising, something that ‘Tumhari Sulu’ was careful to veer away from.

The supporting characters like Lakshmi Manchu, MS Bhaskar, Mohan Ram, Yogi Babu and others seem to be a good fit but are careful enough to not steal Jyothika’s thunder. The music, unlike the original, is less catchy and does little to keep the film more musically inclined. The jokes in the original film were the essence of what made the film a comedy, slice-of-life kind of film. ‘Kaatrin Mozhi’, however, has jokes that are unfunny in several places and look far too forced for it to stand on its own. Juvenile humour that is overcompensated by the drama, but if it weren’t for the characters and their performance, it would’ve been a serious concern.

Comparisons to the original film aside, ‘Kaatrin Mozhi’, headlined by someone like Jyothika, is still a good sign for Kollywood. That actresses are being taken seriously enough to star in a film entirely on their shoulders. It’s a sign that we need more female leads who are comfortable doing it all by themselves, who are appreciated by the audience, and encouraged by filmmakers to make more films from the perspective of a woman – an everyday, ordinary woman, who, much like Viji, tries to cover her double-chin, quarrels with her siblings and yet, embraces her imperfections and loves herself for it.

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