'Paava kadhaigal' Netflix Tamil movie review

- Kumaravel Jagasivamani

The movie 'Paava kadhaigal' (Stories of unethical actions) is available on Netflix. The Tamil language film is composed of four short stories. Each talk about how family and society use their power to bring individuals to act within bounds of what they consider ethical. The first story, 'Thangam' directed by Sudha Kongara, talks about a transgender person facing abuse by his villagers with only his childhood friend empathizing with his situation. The second story, 'Love panna utturanum' directed by Vignesh Shivn, is about two sisters who fall in love with people who they are not supposed to. The third story, 'Vaanmagal' directed by Gautham Menon, is about a family facing a tragedy to their younger daughter. The fourth story, 'Oru iravu' directed by Vetrimaran, is about a father reconciling with his daughter who ran away and married and on the verge of giving birth to a child.

Each story feels complete on its own and it doesn't feel as if the story isn't flushed out because of the length. There is time taken to establish the characters in the story. In 'Thangam', the village is a character of its own, with its colorful houses and small roads. In 'Love panna utturanum', the short side-kick brings out his character well with a deep voice. Both the father and mother characters in 'Vaanmagal' are etched out well. The way the father complains about starting out late for a road trip, the father being a little distant with his daughter after the tragedy, the mother cautioning her daughter about the world we live in makes them more relatable.

The similarity between all of the stories is that each one has a twist near the end. The story that had the highest high and lowest low was 'Vaanmagal'. If the director had stuck with the bold path he was leading towards, the story could have showed how overwhelming the feeling of conforming to society could be. At the least, the story could have avoided the vengence angle found in typical masala movies. Because of these reasons, 'Oru iravu' edges out 'Vaanmagal' as the best story of the lot. The attention shown to details in 'Oru iravu' make it stand out. This would be the scene when the father meeting his daughter for the first time after she ran away, the father seeing his daughter in her yoga class, the father bring water for her daughter and emptying out the vessel are all done beautifully.

Another similarity between all the stories is that the parents of the protagonists had more than child. When the parents had to choose between the child or conforming with the soceity, the fact that they had other children to depend on/carry their legacy/show their love might have swayed them away from their child.

The ordering of the stories was supposed to have been a subject of heavy debate among the creators. It makes sense that 'Love panna utturanum' comes after 'Thangam' and it makes sense that 'Oru iravu' comes after 'Vaanmagal'. The two more powerful stories at the end might have made us appreciate them more instead of placing them at the start. The ordering might have been decided at the last minute as there is a clue about a subsequent story in one of the stories.

A special mention to the lyrics in 'En uyirile uruvana uyire' song in 'Love panna utturanum' and 'Kanne, naan un kannadi' song in 'Vaanmagal'.