Its nice to see that many new directors are not falling into the masala trap and are trying their hand at
romantic subjects. While romances don't offer many options in terms of story development, its also nice that some of
these directors are trying to inject some freshness into familiar stories while working within the usual cinematic
constraints. Kannum Kannum director Marimuthu falls in this category. With likeable characters and an emotional
story, he fashions a good romance that earns our admiration before making us lose our patience towards the end.
Sathyamoorthy(Prasanna), an orphan who grew up in an orphanage, writes a poem about being an orphan and wants to
submit it to a contest in a magazine. He never submits it but is surprised to find the same poem, word for word,
winning the contest. Learning that it was written by a girl called Shenbagavalli from Kutralam, he writes to her.
The girl, whose real name is Anandi(Udhayatara), lives with her father, a brother and three sisters. She responds
and the two strike up a friendship through letters. Sathya feels there is something more between them and decides
to go to Kutralam to meet her. He contacts his college friend Ashok(Harris) who lives in Kutralam and invites himself
to his house. But fate conspires against the Sathya and Anandhi.
The film succeeds in creating strong lead characters who we feel deserve to fall in love and be together. Prasanna
is a decent and sincere young man while Udhayatara is talkative, lively and loves her family. The pair's lives
provide a nice contrast since he is an orphan rooming with his friend while she is part of this large family that
obviously loves her. This difference comes to the fore later on but initially, it is easy to admire how naturally
the characters have been portrayed. Udhayatara's family in particular is very realistic and we get to see
a normal, everyday family with a relaxed atmosphere in the house and enjoyable camaraderie between the members.
With Prasanna and Sathyamoorthy not exchanging photos - atleast, real ones - and communicating under false names,
we've seen enough movies to realize that this film is also setting up a Kaadhal
Koattai-type scenario. And Udhayatara taking off on a college tour at the exact same time that Prasanna
arrives in Kutraalam puts the needed obstacle in place to stretch out their realization of their respective
identities. But the film introduces a plot point that is big enough to put this on the back burner and transform
it into something more than a Kaadhal Koattai-wannabe. And it is the plot point that brings into the play
the villain mentioned rather innovately in the title credits.
The film develops its core issue in a manner that doesn't feel contrived. Kaadhal Koattai and its clones usually
expended all their energy on the journeys of the hero and heroine to find each other. While Kannum Kannum also
stretches out the time until Prasanna and Udhayatara realize who they are, it uses this time well. It alters the
relationship between them and cements other relationships in ways that will affect the dynamics of their
relationship when they do finally recognize each other. So, instead of the usual "when will they find each
other", the question becomes "what will they do when they do find each other".
The movie develops the same problem that plagues many other movies that develop an intriguing situation - not knowing
when to stop. The question of how the issue is going to be resolved soon turns into a weary when it
is going to be resolved as the film starts to spin its wheels and stretch things out. After a key plot development
(which admittedly ends most other movies but only throws up another comlication in this case), subsequent plot
developments seem unnecessary and extend the running time without adding anything to the story. And the old excuse of
characters not speaking out when it seems most logical is also employed, adding to the irritation. The movie does
end perfectly though with a great visual shot that conveys the finality of the ending.
After a couple of image changes in Anjaathey and Saadhu
Mirandaa, Prasanna is back to playing the loverboy here. His likeability combined with the good nature of
the character make it easy to like him. Udhayatara looks rather ordinary but delivers a good performance, especially
since its her first film. The actress playing her friend looks better than her in many places and has some of
the best lines in the film. Vijayakumar, Harris and the actresses do well in making Udhayatara's family seem so
natural. Vadivelu has a separate comedy track. The shortness of the individual segments makes them easy to tolerate and
some of them have a few laughs too. But just the fact that it is a completely separate track with almost no
link to the main track(the only connection is that Vadivelu is also from Kutralam) takes a lot of the shine away.