Kadaikutty Singam could easily be Karthi’s version of Durai Singam — the village backdrop, the holier than thou attitude, loud dialogues, the preachy discourses and the ‘mass’ larger than life image are all there. But the fabric these elements are woven into is different. While Singam flaunts the Khakhi, Guna Singam flaunts the slush from his fields. When Suriya, the star of the Singam franchise and also the producer of Kadaikutty Singam, makes a cameo and wishes his brother, it almost feels like an induction. Similar to Durai Singam, there is not much Guna Singam can do wrong. The commercial infusion sets the predictability bar high in Kadaikutty Singam but the nativity powers through, keeping the film engaging.
If you are one who has a habit of reaching the theatre late, make sure you’re in your seat on time. Kadaikutty Singam begins with an introduction to Rana Singam’s (Sathyaraj) humongous family and the equations in the family and you need it. (It almost feels like Pandiraj understands this and gives us a quick recap before the intermission.) The names and the relationships in Kadaikutty Singam are confoundingly complex and old-school that it makes you wonder if this is really the case. Rana Singam wants a son but becomes the father of four daughters. Since his first wife (Viji Chandrasekhar) can’t bear him more children Thus, he begets a second wife (Bhanupriya) who also bears him a daughter. Unrelenting, Rana Singam looks for a third wife but his first wife miraculously becomes pregnant. She bears a baby boy and hence the name Kadaikutty Singam. Two of Guna Singam’s sisters have daughters whose sole ambition is to marry their uncle. So when Guna Singam falls in love with Kannukiniyal (Sayyeshaa), there is chaos in the family. Will it lead the family to split?
Born and raised in the city, it was tough for me to believe that women in the villages were still so rooted to marrying the ‘Morai maman’. It didn’t make sense that two women in the same family aspired to marry one man. But if you can stomach the problematic family premise, the flavours of the Rana Singam family are bound to intrigue you. They offer Hibiscus tea and saplings to their guests but watch Guna Singam’s speech via Facebook on an Apple tab. Pandiraj’s dialogues are convincingly organic, like its humour, and goes a great way in helping us stay interested in the story. From needing a list to remember the names to being moved by them in the climax, the pitch-perfect performances and the writing become the saving grace for an otherwise done and dusted story. And after ages, we get Soori in a part that actually has several funny lines.
However, the film indulges itself too much and becomes increasingly melodramatic. There’s a lot of tears and over the top drama that bears the trademark of Tamil television. The melodrama and preachiness subvert some of the intriguing perspectives of Kadaikutty Singam — fox example, Guna Singam explaining why he didn’t want to marry his nieces.
Kadaikutty Singam was also branded as the film that would ‘inspire’ youngsters to take up farming. In a growing trend, several films seem to bear the pressure of delivering a social message. And in the process, they tend to oversimplify social issues that are intricately layered. It is easy to call yourself a proud farmer when you earn in lakhs from harvests and belong to a family that can feed 50 people daily. Kadaikutty Singam is about Guna Singam, who happens to be a farmer and his extended family. And Pandiraj ensures that it is a family that we don’t get to see often.