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Koozhangal (Pebbles)

3.5 Star popcorn reviewss

So finally it’s another weekend, which certainly gives out theatrical releases. But how can the OTT be left behind? Within the films that make it to OTT, are those that either are rarely known or have been anticipated for longer period. ‘Koozhangal’ (Pebbles) is one such film, whose release was long-awaited and we couldn’t be more thankful to the makers for releasing the film on OTT without going to theatres. This comes right after two years, when it became India’s Official Entry to the 94th Academy Awards!

Directed by debutant filmmaker P.S. Vinothraj, ‘Koozhangal’ follows the journey of an alcoholic man and his son to wife’s village for getting her back, following an violent argument. What follows amid the journey forms the rest of the film’s narration. There are a lot many takeaways from the film in terms of craft, where within limited dialogue and confrontation, we are introduced to the film’s premise and the described situations smartly. What is also worth noting is the cinematography by Vignesh Kumulai and Jeya Parthiban, which portrays the rural Tamil landscape like never before. The implementation of single-take shots, still-drone shots and even extreme-close up shots are actually a winner in terms of adding intensity to the drama.

What is more, that the film focuses less on score and more on the landscape and scenario. In between, you have the celebrated music director Yuvan Shankar Raja intensifying the dramatic effect of various scenes. He revisits the magic for an father and child story, after ‘Peranbu’ (Tamil/2018) which again showed a warm bond between a father and child. In the cast, the father played by Karuththadaiyyan is simply perfect and his portrayal is shown raw and rooted. The son, played by Chellapandi is an reminiscent of memorable children characters as shown in Iranian Cinema. Their chemistry is sweet and striking, where their subtle grey shades add immense boost to the narration.

The journey as shown in the film is indeed slow, but has been smartly balanced between barren and lively. The sub-plots, along with the necessary artists have been put well and given apt screen-space.

One must give to ‘Lady Superstar’ Nayanthara and director Vignesh Shivan (also, former’s husband) for producing this film, which was widely appreciated and even awarded in prestigious festivals like Rotterdam. However, it’s high-time, that even for a limited time frame, such films should be given a theatrical release, like what we recently saw in the case of films like ‘Tora’s Husband’ (Assamese). So please do watch ‘Koozhangal’ and treat yourself with a bitter-sweet cinematic take on father-child relationship.

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