Out of all the movies in the world, I picked this one. Because it started at 7pm, unlike all the other movies I wanted to watch which started at 10pm. It was fate!
Unsurprisingly, the part with Vijay Sethupathi was 100% perfect. It works perfectly as a beautiful little short film, I want to see a version that is edited to be just that. The part with Fahadh Faasil and Samantha is mostly perfect, and then wobbles a bit. The part with Ramya Krishnan never really picks up steam for me. The part with the child actors is great, and then totally fails right at the end. That’s how these multi-story films work sometimes, it feels like the writer didn’t have quite enough for a full story for any of them, and so kind of threw in the good ideas he had and faked the bits where he had no idea. But this film has so many really good ideas that I can forgive the bad ones.
The overall idea is a good one, that the systems in India are broken and the people would rather focus on their own small issues than the greater systemic problems. Corrupt police and a failed justice system, a broken medical system, and a destructively unhealthy attitude towards sexuality. That is what ties all these stories together, that they all show the flaws of India today. And it’s not like the writer had to work to make that connection, it’s right there in front of us, all of these people trapped in situations beyond their control because when the littlest thing goes wrong, the world will jump on them and make it worse.
The level to which the world jumps on them is a little uneven story to story. Just generally the tone is a little uneven story to story. That is mostly okay, with a film like this you can mix in the sincere stories with the funny silly ones. But the problem comes up when within the same stories the tone changes too much scene to scene. In Vijay Sethupathi’s story, the lighthearted ending is out of tone with the very serious and tragic other sections. In Fahadh Faazil’s story, the penultimate sequence is so disturbing it is hard to make it fit with the light-hearted earlier sections of the story. A rising and falling tone is good within a narrative, makes us keep watching, but you can’t go from black to white that dramatically and expect the audience not to get whiplash.
None of that takes away from the moments of brilliance though. That’s the nice thing about the multi-story structure, even if one story is weak, I can still appreciate the unconnected other story that is perfect. Really, the Vijay Sethupathi story is just an exquisite tiny little gem of a tale.