Kaatrin Mozhi movie review: Jyotika’s remake is nothing like Tumhari Sulu, and that’s good
Kaatrin Mozhi movie review: Jyotika succeeds by not giving you the opportunity to compare her to Vidya Balan at any moment.Updated: Nov 16, 2018 12:49 IST
Director: Radha Mohan
Writer: Suresh Triveni
Cast: Jyotika, Vidaarth, Tejas, MS Bhaskar, Manobala
Passion goes beyond reason. Passion is what drives away the webs of mediocrity and melancholy out of life and it is what helps one in overcoming hurdles and failures. Kaatrin Mozhi is about a passionate woman who nothing more than to be an RJ and balance her domestic life. Vijayalakshmi Balakrishnan, played by Jyotika, is a housewife who might not have cleared high school, but leads a happy life with her husband and son. Balu, as she likes to call her husband, is played by Vidharth, and he loves his wife, and all her eccentricities.
Kaatrin Mozhi is a remake of the Hindi film Tumhari Sulu, in which Vidya Balan played the lead role. Director Radha Mohan has wonderfully given the remake a beating heart of its own. Initially, you’d be surprised to see that the film is so different from the original, but that is why the remake works in the first place. It would be appropriate to call Kaatrin Mozhi an adaptation, instead of an outright remake.
The film is about a housewife finding her passion for something and being successful at it, while balancing a life at home. So when Viji and Balu bicker about the TV, or when the family sits down for dinner together, it will remind viewers of their own families. This relatability - be it in the plot or through the characters - is what makes director Radha Mohan’s film a wonderful watch. This ability to make audiences relate with the characters was present in Abhiyum Naanum, in Mozhi and now in Kaatrin Mozhi.
The relationship between Viji and Balu is what companionship should ideally look like. The problems that this couple faces when Viji’s professional career overtakes her husband’s, is insightfully portrayed. Another example of this understanding of gender dynamics comes when their child, Siddhu, played by Tejas, commits a mistake in the absence of his mother, and it is Viji who is faulted for not being present. Balu is never questioned. This is a reflection of reality.
“Why should I quit my job? Siddhu is a child and he made a mistake. How does my work have anything to do with this?” asks Viji in a particularly tense scene. The question that remains unasked is ‘why does the father not have any responsibility in a home where the husband and wife are equal?’ The impact of this scene is bang on because silence sometimes speaks louder than words.
How does Jyotika’s performance compare to Vidya Balan’s? She made the role her own and performed it beautifully. Initially, Jo used to be known for her dramatic expressions, which she had toned down for director Bala and Mani Ratnam. In Kaatrin Mozhi, it is this dramatic acting that helps her character. Vidya Balan’s ‘Hello’ is unforgettable, and it is hard for anyone to come close to that. However, what Jyotika does succeed in is that she doesn’t give you the opportunity to compare her to Vidya at any moment. The credit once again goes to Radha Mohan for delivering a film that is different.
The character of Neelagandan, played by MS Bhaskar, is another instance which shows the audience the director’s sensibilities. Even the climax, which is as different from the original as chalk and cheese, leaves you smiling.
Kaatrin Mozhi is about understanding what “50-50” means, not just in a business partnership, but at home, too. It is about believing in yourself, even if it is in something as small as lemon and spoon race, or as important as a job - one that your family thinks is not respectable. It is about fighting stereotypes, prejudice, sexism and more. The fight is real, and the victory that comes at the end is sweet. And yet Kaatrin Mozhi (the language of the wind) is as breezy as a comedy can get.