Director: JJ Frederick
Jyothika’s films in recent times – be it commercial or social, come with a social message. The actress chooses scripts she truly believes in and that reflects onscreen. She channelises her fanbase and her potentiality in a manner that brings to the audience a good message that is the need of the hour. Ponmagal Vandhal, that just got a straight OTT release is one such film. The team behind the film did a commendable job of releasing the film on Amazon Prime making it available for families so that they could watch good films like these together and learn about the alarming scenario young children go through.
Director JJ Frederick has done a noteworthy job as a debut filmmaker by choosing a story not many would – to raise a voice against those who are at fault. The film Ponmagal Vandhal is a story of a lawyer who takes up a 14 year old open and shut case as her first case ever. What unfolds during the court room drama and the twists that come up as a result is the storyline.
The story discusses an issue which is the need of the hour. Girls as young as age five and six become victims of various sexual abuses, physical violence, rape and molestation. The notion behind the story is seen in the film although there are some loose ends and overdramatic scenarios here and there. But, if these aren’t there, then that would probably look like a documentary. There are also a few predictable scenes but that does not take away the essence of the storyline.
But, what held the film together was the lead – Jyothika. Adding yet another feather to her cap after terrific films like Naachiyar and Raatchasi, this is easily one of her best till date. Her acting is top notch, and the fact that a lead actress has the dynamism to take up the role of a victim standing up for herself is commendable. Actor Parthiban adds a good spin to the film with his role as the defense lawyer Rajarathinam and so has actor Bhagyaraj. Actor Thiyagaran as politician Varadharajan is a role we see in almost every other commercial film but being an experienced actor, he has held his ground. There are some confusing characters like Prathap Pothen as the Judge. Most of his statements and further moves are quite foreseeable. Overall, the cast has taken a decent effort in keeping up the pace of the film.
Filming a courtroom drama is no cakewalk but Frederick has done a good job at it. The film has beautiful backgroud music which reflects the essence of the story. The cinematography is decent and the screenplay is perceptive although it gets a little dreary here and there.
Overall, the film is a definite watch because it speaks the harsh reality of today’s childhood and the gruesome world the little ones live in. The film’s final message – Don’t tell your daughters how to dress and how to behave; teach your boys how to look at girls and how to respect them – sums up what is the need of the hour in our society.
Verdict: The narrative holds a very important message and that is unmissable.