I had heard some good feedback on this film when it had released few months ago. I have not seen any previous work of the director of this film ( Halitha Shameem) and had not heard of her either. So, started watching the film without any baggage or expectations.
As the film opened, realised it’s an anthology film of 4 stories with a common theme and a not so obvious link. So, the review necessarily has to dwell into each of the shorts for its story, the making, performances and the works.
Story 1 – Pink Bag brings you some memories of Slum Dog Millionaire in its setting. The story revolves around very poor kids who make a living from sifting through garbage dump on a daily basis. The story drives home the dark effects of class divide in the society without being preachy with a story of a teenage poor boy doing something sweet for an unknown rich girl. There are additional characters and nuances to the script which uplift the mood of the story. Performances of the characters who are all young boys and girls are just brilliant.
Story 2 Kakka Kadi shows an evolving relationship between two strangers who meet regularly on an Ola share cab. Just that, soon it is discovered that the man has cancer. The story shows a sweet relationship developing between the two even after the girl gets to know of the ailment. Both Nivedhithaa and Manikandan play their parts in this aptly.
Story 3 Turtles – I liked this the best, though we might have seen glimpses of this story before. Mainly powered by the performances of the two leading cast – Leela Samson and Sreeram, both playing senior citizen roles, the story tugs your heart as a very sweet companionship evolves between them as they start enjoying each other’s company. The end is a bit filmy but can live with it.
Story 4 Hey Ammu: By far the weakest plot, didn’t work for me so much. Probably male misogyny and patriarchy have now become familiar tropes in films and hence felt repeatitive. The performances of the lead cast of Samudrakani and Sunaina are good but fail to lift the rather weak script. The bringing in of technology to patch up husband- wife relationship is sweet and novel though it seems artificial and fantasy ridden.
I was wondering about the offbeat title of the film – Sillu Karupatti which it seems means Palm Jaggery. Once I saw the film and as you would have noticed in the above lines, the connecting link between the stories is the underlying sweetness! But unlike sugar, jaggery is not plain sweet. Like wise, in these stories, beneath the veneer of sweetness, there is a bitter and harsh reality which the characters endure in their lives, which the director portrays very well!
For putting together the shorts and for making them without any “stars”, the director Halitha deserves our kudos. The making is clean. A line about the background score which is dominated by the violin. The solo violin playing in many parts in the background plays an apt companion role for the scene and is fantastic.
Sillu Karupatti is not your typical Tamil mass film. It starts off slowly but is a delightful watch. And each of the story is filled with moments which you carry long after the film is over. Watch it for those sweet and not so sweet moments.