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Review: Kuttram Kadithal is brilliant

Radhika Prasidhha in Kuttram KadithalDirector Bramma's Kuttram Kadithal is an intense drama that questions the adequacy of our school system, says S Saraswathi.

The internationally acclaimed Kuttram Kadithal, which has won a National Award for Best Regional Film, finally released in theatres.

Directed by debutant Bramma, the film throws light on the complexities of our present-day education system.

While children today are exposed to all kinds of indecent material from television, films, newspapers, magazines, and internet, little has been done to prepare their young minds to understand and face this daily onslaught of temptations. Schools are not equipped to or choose not to address these issues. 

Bramma’s Kuttram Kadithal tells us why a little knowledge is a dangerous thing. 

A small incident of a young school boy Selian (Master Ajay) kissing his classmate on her birthday triggers a chain of events that quickly escalates beyond control. When asked to apologise, Selian offers to kiss the teacher on her birthday instead.

Angered by his insolence, the teacher Merlin (Radhika Prasidhha) slaps him.

He falls unconscious with blood oozing from his nose and all hell breaks loose. He is rushed to the hospital where he goes into a coma.

Merlin is shocked and is advised to leave the city with her husband Manikandan (Sai Rajkumar). Even as she is trying to flee the city, she is wracked with guilt. 

Selian's mother supports the family by riding an auto. His uncle Udayan (Pavel Navageethan) is a rough communist, who wants to find Merlin and make her pay.

The insensitive media descends in the second half determined to sensationalise the incident. Within hours, television channels are holding debates with child developments officers and social activists. There is little concern for the young Selian or a distraught Merlin.

Except for Madras fame Pavel, most of the cast and the crew are newcomers.

Theatre artist Radhika Prasidhha has absolutely no trouble transforming from this happy carefree newlywed to a psychologically affected woman trying to come to terms with her guilt.

But the film is not a one-man show -- science teacher Padmavathi (Nikhila Kesavan), who is a strong advocate of sex education in schools is equally convincing. There are several such characters and each one lends a different dimension to the film. 

Corporal punishment is a reality that cannot be denied. And while it is totally unacceptable, watching it unfold on the big screen, you realise that not everything in life can be painted black or white. The director reveals the trauma of both the victim and the abuser and this unbiased portrayal is its biggest strength. 

Director Bramma weaves an intense and poignant drama that questions the adequacy of our school system. 

Kuttram Kadithal is a brilliant team effort that hits you hard. Definitely a must watch.

Rediff Rating: