Sillunu Oru Kaadhal
has been made banking solely on the chemistry between Surya and Jyothika. Having made 6 movies together and getting ready to become husband and wife in real life too, the two do make a cute couple and share excellent chemistry onscreen. But chemistry can take you only so far. A movie, especially a romance, also needs an interesting story, an engaging screenplay and a good pace to hold our interest and SOK
unfortunately falls short on all those aspects.
Surya and Jyothika are easily the most popular pair(in reel life and in real life) in Tamil cinema right now. SOK
got in the news early on when it paired them up just when the rumor mills were working overtime and it truly struck a goldmine of free hype and publicity when the pair, after years of speculation and rumors, announced that they were going to wed. The movie releasing just a few days before the wedding only added to the hype. But the couple deserved a better wedding gift.
Gowtham(Surya) and Kundhavi(Jyothika) get married without a lot of enthusiasm and on Kundhavi's side, the disappointment arises from the fact that hers is not a love marriage. But 6 years later, they are a happily married couple living in Mumbai, completely in love with each other and doting on their daughter Aishwarya(Baby Shreya). When Gowtham goes on a trip to America to present a paper, Kundhavi chances upon his diary from his college days. That's when she learns that she is not her husband's first love and that he and Aishwarya(Bhoomika) had been lovers in college.
The movie draws us in right away when Surya and Jyothika enter wedlock with long faces since the hero and the heroine getting married at the start of the movie and doing so unhappily are both rare occurrences in Tamil cinema. It is a little disappointing when it quickly fast forwards to 5 years later and shows them as a happy couple since their journey to reach that stage would have made interesting viewing. But they make us believe that they are a couple still very much in love and completely open and honest with each other. The few snapshots we get of their life are sweet and fun-filled.
The story demands that their romance be cut short as we flashback to the romance between Surya and Bhoomika. That by itself is not such a bad thing. The problem is that everything that was right in the romance between Surya and Jyothika is thrown out the window as Surya and Bhoomika meet and fall in love. It is a nice idea to contrast the two romances (initial dislike vs love at first sight, Chief mechanic Surya vs rowdy college student Surya, chatty Jo vs quiet Bhoomika, etc.) but it makes the Surya-Bhoomika romance very weak. It is barely convincing and never cute. And for the record, Bhoomika's line that reveals her love has to count among the worst ever. It would have been vulgar if it hadn't been so silly.
The 2 hour mark is simply too late for a movie to get into the meat of the story, no matter how good it is. But that’s exactly what happens in SOK
. The one big plot development occurs so late that we've lost all interest in the film by then. The plot point is interesting and even a bit daring and has some potential but considering that it is a Tamil film and knowing the characters(and actors) involved, it is completely predictable. Still, the director does manage to generate some interest in the proceedings and though it eventually turns out to be a cheat using a very familiar technique, it is convincing while it is happening and manages to keep us guessing until the cheat is revealed.
I've mentioned before that Vadivelu has grown on me as a comedian but he is still a completely wrong choice for a film aiming to be a classy, slick and youthful romance. Though he isn't onscreen for long, his separate segments are crude and distasteful and the entire segment where he and his relatives camp out in Surya's house is painful. Santhanam, on the other hand, is very funny and has a number of hilarious lines.
It is clear that Surya is better suited to play a loverboy than a rowdy but he slips into both roles easily. With a pleasant face and a ready smile, he is easily likeable. Goes without saying that Jo looks great and makes a great pair with him. After Vettaiyaadu Vilaiyaadu
, she once again displays a quieter persona here and is convincing as the wife dealing with her husband's past love in a rather new way. Bhoomika looks more comfortable as the shy, quiet girl rather than the modern rebel she turns into later. Sukanya has a miniscule role(and she better fire her makeup man!).New York Nagaram...
is inexplicably not pictured in New York. It starts off right as Surya misses Jyothika but the bright picturization with all those camera tricks and designer clothing somehow doesn't suit the spirit of the song. Jo looks like a doll in the song though. Munbe Vaa...
, thankfully, is picturized just right - romantically and softly. Kummi Adi...
starts the film off on a high while Machakkaari…
feels unnecessary. Majaa Majaa…
is probably the best example of the chemistry between Surya and Jo and is sensuous without being vulgar.