Oru Naal Koothu (ONK) is a bold, extensive take on marriages narrated from three different perspectives by director Nelson Venkatesan. It has a topical theme on the importance given to marriage in our society, and it has been handled with good amount of conviction and maturity by the director. It turns out as another good product from producers Kenanya Films, after Thirudan Police.
We have a pair (Dinesh and Nivetha) working in the IT sector whose romance has a lot of turbulence and commitment issues. Then, there are a couple of women (Mia George and Riythvika) in their late 20s who face delayed marriage. The film revolves around these main characters, with some well-defined support parts for other actors like Karunakaran, Charlie, Balasaravanan and Abhinav.
Director Nelson, along with his writer Sankar Dass, seems to have done his ground work extensively and ONK is a very relatable film for people in their 20s and 30s, when marriage looms large.
Mia George and Riythvika are the twin towers of the film. It takes guts for both of them to accept and play such roles. While Mia plays a timid, suppressed village belle whose father is inadvertently a hurdle in her marriage, Riythvika plays a strong willed RJ working in Suryan FM. Both these well-written, contrasting characters would make the late K.Balachander proud.
Newbie Nivetha looks sexy and stylish as the young techie. She makes a fair debut but needs to be more expressive in her future outings. The fact that she speaks Tamil is a definite plus. She seems comfortable in the intimate scenes with Dinesh, who is sadly a misfit though. He has a knack at pulling off heavy roles like the ones in Cuckoo and Visaaranai with total ease but when it comes to such breezy, realistic parts, he is out of place.
Though Ramesh Thilak shows good energy and spunk on screen, it is odd to see him in an urban, well-groomed makeover. But it is a gutsy breakout by him after being in a perennially shaggy makeover in his other films. His character’s resolution in the climax is sadly under-cooked. The climax of the film, as a whole, is unexpected and open to debate. The film could have ended in a better manner, one feels, given the way it builds up well. All the three tracks do merge, but not convincingly.
Composer Justin Prabhakaran delivers lasting numbers like ‘Adiye Azhage’, ‘Maangalyam’ and ‘Paatta Podungaji’ and is also a strong support with his re-recording which adds so much to the drama and tension in the proceedings. DoP Gokul Benoy’s visuals sparkle and ONK looks rich and glossy thanks to his frames and treatment. These two young technicians are unsung heroes of ONK.
The modus operandi of the FM space and IT sector have been shown with good detailing. It is interesting to see, actually. There is plenty of Suryan FM branding in the film.
The run time is a manageable 2 hours 14 mins and after the first half which has some pace issues and feels long, the second half picks up with some solid drama. Don’t miss the end credits roll which is hilarious, particularly the confident auto-driver speaking English.