‘Solla Marandha Kadhai (A story that was forgotten to be narrated) is such a quaint and apt title. It is offbeat and the hero is unconventional as well – director Cheran facing the camera instead of helming the project.
It does have a feel to it – imagine a raconteur catches you on a lazy evening and decides to tell you the story of a poor but educated man. He got to marry a rich man’s daughter – Cinderella story in reverse. And the story begins from there, did they really live a happily married life or not is the moot question that needs an answer.
There is not much by way of suspense. Sivadhanu (Cheran) belongs to a poor family and he struggles to support his family. He is well-educated but does not find a suitable job. He is spotted by the wily rich businessman played by Pyramid Natarajan. He spots the potential in the young man and decides to get his acquiescent daughter married to him. He plans to have him as a ‘live-in’ son-in-law who will be groomed to take over his business.
He fails to factor that Cheran is a spirited man and will not kowtow to his wishes. Indeed the ego clashes are often a result of his own unreasonableness. Initially it seems to be a case of mismatched frequencies but as the story progresses Natarajan seems to relish the prospect of humiliating Cheran. A smart businessman would know that this is a recipe for disaster and would alienate Cheran to no-end.
Possibly the director wanted to firmly set the audience’s sympathy with Cheran and so went out-of-the-way to establish Natarajan’s villainous ways. Rest of the cast doesn’t matter much in Natarajan’s home as they are all stock characters. Cheran’s family has a meatier characterization and add heft to the narrative.
Eventually Cheran redeems himself after a series of setbacks. He finds a job, he finds his self-respect and eventually he manages to reconcile with his family. Well happy endings with mushiness are a typical formula in Tamil films.
The movie is also a welcome change from the usual pulp cinema that we encounter. Even in the family drama genre, for a change it is not about the squabbles between the ‘Mother-In-Law’ and ‘Daughter-In-Law’. And the heavy subject is alleviated by some cute and tender moments between the young couple. Songs are hummable but none remain with you for long.
So a raconteur spinning the yarn is likely to keep you engaged and you will not to miss the story. Sure certain elements are forced – a mindless comedy track, the usual fight sequences to boost up the hero’s characters, doses of melodrama, a repeated hash of affairs that can jangle your nerves. And yet there is quite a bit that is refreshing about the tale – the rural countryside is captured well, Cheran is a surprise package as an actor as he emotes well and depicts the frustrations & vulnerabilities of a callow youth, Natarajan relishes his role as the antagonist, Manivannan sparkles in a brief cameo.
So do make time to have a look at this one. ‘Solla Marandha Kadhai’ deserves a second coming and you will not regret to listen to it on a rebound.