Debutant director and writer Raju Murugan’s Cuckoo is straight from the heart. It is technically a well-made film though too heavy and melodramatic towards the climax.
The film belongs to Dinesh, who has come out with a riveting performance from an actor who is doing only his third film. The outstanding music and BGM of Santosh Narayanan is a major plus.
Cuckoo is basically a simple romantic story about selfless love, between two visually impaired leads. Raju Murugan, the director plays himself and starts the film with a narrative. He happens to see a missing’ poster of Tamizh (Dinesh) and the story unfolds in a flashback mould.
Murugan, a journalist takes us on trip to uncover what went wrong in the love story of Tamizh and Sudhandhirakodi (Malavika Nair), both visually impaired people.
What makes the film work to a large extent is the narrative and casting. The romance between the visually impaired lead characters is told in a realistic manner. The supporting cast like hero’s friend and admirer of his songs played by Aadukalam Murgadoss fits in with the narration.
The drama troupe who support Tamizh have look alike characters of MGR, Chandrababu, Vijay and Ajith who blend with the story. And newcomers playing heroine’s selfish brother, a cunning police officer, political middle man, auto driver with an eye on the heroine and not-bothered railway passengers are brilliant characterisations.
The music of Santosh Narayanan and his BGM is in sync with the theme of the film. The soft and melodious Manasula Soora Kaathey..., will linger in your heart for a long time. In fact the Ilayaraja sound and feel can be experienced throughout the film. PK Varma’s camerawork including all the railway station platform, compartment shots are in sync with the narration.
Among the performers Dinesh carries the show, the best ever blind act since Kamal Haasan’s Rajaparavai. Malavika Nair lives the role and her breakdown scene in the church is superb. Superb performances!
However the biggest drawback of the film is its length (2 hrs 42 minutes) and a climax which can be predicted at every turn. It is highly melodramatic and heart wrenching, tries to manipulate the viewers with an excess of sentiments and mush, reminding you of 70’s tearjerkers.
But on the whole, Cuckoo is a bold and daring film with a great first half which is lively and entertaining. Don’t forget to take two handkerchiefs.
Verdict – Good